Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hard Times and Tough Choices

2/11/15 UPDATE on the post below: I am happy to announce that Etsy has stepped up to the plate and will be handling the collecting and remittance of the VAT tax. While they, (Etsy) are still working out the final details of which I will be paying close attention to, they have given the ok to resume sales, so I am once again able to sell my PDF patterns to everyone. My apologies to anyone who was inconvenienced, and many thanks for your patience and understanding!

Hello Everyone. Over the last 24 hours I have been working hard  to catch up on the European Union VAT Tax laws, and how they will effect my sales of PDF patterns and how and where I sell them. If you are unaware of what all this VAT tax is, you are not alone... I was completely caught off guard until yesterday... very late to the party was I. Thankfully I started  to see posts and links on Instagram about this, including a well written one from Esch House Quilts. (You can read her well articulated post for a better idea of what I am talking about.) It's a confusing, but serious topic that is impacting the livelihoods of many independent sellers who sell electronic/digital files, such as myself. If you wish to delve into some of the discussions you can visit a bit of the raging debate on the Etsy blog, here.

As of now, here is where I find myself...

Due to changes concerning the European Union VAT Tax laws and how they apply to PDF patterns sold to European Union customers, and due to the limited options currently provided through Etsy and Paypal including ability to control what, who and where I can sell to, I am at this time regrettably being put into the position of only selling to US customers. It is with a sad heart that I do this, and I wish to thank my very wonderful international customers for all of their past support. Please know that I will be keeping an eye on these new laws and any new developing solutions that will work for both myself and my international customers, including the possibility of no longer selling PDF patterns on Etsy and only selling them on platforms, such as Payhip, that will handle the collection and the payment of all VAT taxes. (Something Etsy should be doing but at this time isn't.)

Keep in mind, some of the "solutions" at this time, may be but a mere bandaid, as there is talk of more countries following a similar path, as well of word that come 2016, the EU will expand this law to ALL items sold to residents of the EU. So, if small independent sellers and businesses are to survive, the platforms that are supposedly in place to support independent seller's efforts, need to step up to the plate and deal with these issues in a responsible and legitimate way, or we will all be going out of business, including you Etsy.

While these new laws take effect January 1st 2015, I will be completing all necessary changes to my shop sometime tomorrow. Again, my deepest apologies to my international customers. Hoping effective and workable solutions come soon.

My very best wishes to you and all of us for a happy, health, peaceful and prosperous New Year. xo

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Broken Window Quilts

Still playing around with improv pieced 1/4 log cabin blocks, 
(like the ones that I used in this quilt previously shown here.) 

Like that one, this one, titled "Broken Windows" is pieced using brightly colored Cirrus Solids Fabrics from Cloud9 Fabrics. Love how it turned out and it's now hanging happily in my home!
(Blogger seems to want to load this photo, and others a bit fuzzy, erg! 
However, you can click on it/them for a clearer view.)

And here are two more, both made of some really lovely, 
softly colored chambrays and striped woven fabrics...

 "Broken Barn Window #1"



(This one is currently available in my Etsy shop. Just click on the quilt's title.)




Thanks to everyone who commented and joined in the conversation on my last post. It's an important topic and one that I hope we can all continue to discuss in a respectful way, leading hopefully to better understanding, and positive forward direction. Wanted to let you know that their are other discussions around blogland on the related to the same topic. One good one can be found over at Completely Cauchy, where she also helpfully added links to other related conversations. 

Probably won't be posting till after the Holidays, 
so Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to you all!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Accepted or Rejected... Thoughts About QuiltCon and The Modern Quilting Movement

Yesterday and today while looking at my Instagram feed, I am seeing lots of posts showing either acceptance notices or rejection notices sent to those who entered this years's QuiltCon, and it brings up lots of feelings for me. I am excited and happy for those that get in, and want to hug and comfort those that did not.

While I have occasionally entertained the idea, I personally have never entered a quilt into a show. Any show. Part laziness, part fear the quilt I so love would be lost in the process, and part conflicted feelings over the whole process, which I will discuss more in a bit.

First let me say, I applaud anyone who had the organization, and the courage to put their quilts out there. If you got accepted, congrats, I can imagine how very excited you must be! If you got rejected, please remember, your camp is the bigger one... due to sheer volume of entries, most quilts are going to be rejected. 

And now for that word rejected... sounds like the judges took one look at your quilt and tossed it on the "No" pile. But for all you know, your quilt was neck to neck with another... the judges went back and forth... which one would it be...??? For all you know your quilt was heavily fought for, but in the end the other one squeaked in over yours by just a hair. And I hope you realize that if other eyes were doing the judging, the whole outcome could have been vastly different. So don't look at your quilt as "rejected". I want you to look at your quilt as the one that was sooooo close! And most of all, love that quilt. Love what you did, love your courage, love your vision, love, love, love. And keep sewing.

Did you know that Agatha Christie went through 5 years of continual rejection before landing a publishing contract? Most successful artists go through a lot of rejection... thanks goodness that they keep believing in themselves and keep trying!

Ok, so here are my conflicted feelings about the whole process... 

We need shows because art and craft and creativity needs to be seen and it needs to be seen up close and personal. We also need to have some level of quality, and craftsmanship and editing, or we will be virtually overwhelmed, whether you are one of the shows organizers or one of the attendees. There is just no way that everyone can be accepted. 

Being a judge, (I sure wouldn't want the job) must be extremely difficult... especially when you have to judge something on so many varied criteria... what if esthetically it knocks your socks off, but technically, eh, not so much? I might be committing a sacrilegious modern quilt offense here, but case in point... have you ever really looked at the technical aspects of some of those Gees Bend quilts that we all covet... not so great in some respects. Poor quilt stitches sometimes, unwanted puckering on others. With out the Gees Bend pedigree, those technical boo-boos could be cause for disqualification in a juried show, and what a truly sad thing that would be, for it would have robbed us of some amazing, visually powerful work!

Are you getting what I am trying to say here? The whole thing is a slippery tight-rope. We need shows because we need exposure to art. We need editing because we need to keep things from snowballing out of control. Editing is difficult and subjective to personal preference and ultimately will always dismiss something that very well should have been accepted. 

Another area that I have conflict is with the whole Modern Quilt Movement... don't get me wrong... I am so happy that it came along! I am so happy that it is not only doing well, but is thriving! My gosh, who would have thought just a few years back that it would have grown this far, this quick! I so applaud those founding visionaries. Not only did they light a fire, they hauled the wood and cleared the site and invited everyone to participate. Fabulous!

However, as I have stood by the sidelines, (I am by nature an introvert) watching this all morph and grow, I can't help but observing, (from my sideline perspective) that the more folks wanted to come and sit around the modern camp fire, the more rules seemed to be required and after awhile a whole uniform has seemed to be adopted.

This causes a lot of those conflicted feelings for me. 

The way I see it the most important thing in the Modern Quilt Movement is that it is a movement. Just like that camp fire, it is in a sense a living thing that should be continually morphing, changing, ebbing and growing.  Out of all great artistic movements came other ways of looking and thinking... What happens to the Modern Quilt Movement if it defines itself too narrowly? Will it forget to shine light on new off-shoots, new ways of approaching quilting? Will it become come static? One note?Wouldn't that be the exact opposite of what it originally was meant to be? 

My worry isn't that the Modern Quilting Movement will die off... I think it is here to stay, and I again am happy about that. My concern is that too many quilters wanting to be a part of this modern camp fire circle will limit their own creativity by trying to conform to what some camp leaders define modern to be. My worry is that the camp leaders will forget that the healthiest trees not only grow tall and straight but also have multiple branches, and that some of the best discoveries have come forging new trails, and looking under hidden rocks.

As quilter's, let's keep growing. Let's keep morphing and experimenting. Let's keep  encouraging ourselves and other's. Don't let rejection get to you. Your path is an important one, keep going. xo

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cultural Fusion Book Winner!

Congrats to Juliann, she is the winner of Sujata Shah's new book Cultural Fusion Quilts!
She was randomly selected using random.org number generator.

I thank all of you who entered and left comments and enjoyed reading the diverse quilt making inspirations that you all have. 

If any of you are currently feeling creatively stuck, take a look at the comments found at the end of the Giveaway post, and they just might inspire you to look in new directions!

Remember that there are still chances to win  a copy of the book by visiting some of the other blogs on the tour! (See that Giveaway post link above to find the current dates.)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Cultural Fusion Quilts Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Today I have the pleasure of participating in a blog tour/giveaway for a wonderful new quilt book titled Cultural Fusion Quiltsauthored by Sujata Shah and published by C&T Publishing. I am sure that many of you are already familiar with the talented Sujata Shah and her blog The Root Connection. If not, it is my sincere delight to introduce you to her here along with her new book.

Cultural Fusion Quilts begins with a brief introduction into Sujata's formative years growing up in India surrounded by a culture steeped in a rich textile history, followed by her coming to America as a young bride. 

Sujata initially was not the least bit interested in sewing, (in fact she once told her mother that she would rather die then hold a needle in her hand! I thought that hilarious as I also remember my own horror at the idea of quilting upon the first time my mother proudly showed me the Amish quilt she had just purchased. I simply could not imagine a more boring and tedious thing to do... God must have a grand time laughing at our young selves!)

Lucky for us, Sujata eventually found herself drawn to quilt making. The more she studied the more she came to define her own aesthetic, realizing that she was drawn to the styles, (and often surprising similarities) of the utilitarian quilts found and rooted in Indian, African and South American cultures. 

Says Sujata, "I wanted more then just straight lines in my quilt" (Amen, sister!)

This realization led to new quilt making techniques for Sujata as she began to cut her fabrics free hand with scissors instead of with rotary cutter and ruler, and experiment with new ways of creating traditional blocks in a free-form style. 

In her book Cultural Fusion Quilts, Sujata shows us 15 of her beautiful modern quilts, all based on traditional block designs, and explains how they can be made using her free-form piecing methods. The best part of working in this method is that individuality is built into this process... while you can duplicate the look of a quilt, each quilt will at the same time always be a one-of-a-kind original. 

I also have a long love of utilitarian quilts, and like Sujata, I often choose to forgo the ruler and rotary cutter, preferring to use just my scissors and internal judgement for cutting my quilt pieces. I can attest that this is a wonderful way to work! Not only are the quilts more interesting and unique, (in my opinion) the whole process is more engaging. If you have never tried working in this way before, the projects found in Cultural Fusion Quilts will be sure to make you want to try!

Each project begins with a photo of the finished quilt, along with a photo of its "Root Connection" where Sujata introduces us to the project's inspiration. Simple, straightforward step by step instructions accompany each project and then Sujata opens the door even wider by including possible variations to each quilt's design process.

One of the main attractions for me in regards to this book is that while it shows step by step quilt projects based on blocks, the blocks themselves are really technique based, (as opposed to precision cutting, piecing and/or template based.) These techniques become tools to put in our quilting-know-how tool belt, and once learned, we get to pull these techniques out time and time again to play with, explore and uniquely create with. I look forward to playing around with Sujata's techniques and can hardly wait to see where they lead me to!

Another main attraction for me is that I believe Sujata's ultimate goal is to encourage everyone to explore what inspires them, experiment with some new ways of working, and ultimately deepen their own unique, creative voice. That is a passion of mine, and I am so happy to be able to share Sujata's beautiful book and her teaching skills with all of you, as I think she helps pave the way to finding one's own creative voice excellently. It doesn't get much better then that. Thanks, Sujata!

If you would like to receive a copy of Cultural Fusion Quilts, please leave a comment below telling us what  currently inspires you in your quilt making process! Remember, only one comment per person, please, and make sure that your comment link's back to a profile with your email link, (if it doesn't, leave your email address at the end of your comment).

I will be closing comments and randomly selecting a winner on Tuesday evening, (Dec. 9th) and will post who the lucky person is on Wednesday, Dec. 10th. (If the winner is a US resident, they will receive a hard copy of the book from C&T Publishing. Any winner outside of the US will receive an E-Book that can be downloaded.) Good luck!

(This Giveaway Now Closed)

For more reviews and chances to win a copy of the book, you can visit the other blogs               
                         participating in this blog tour. Each blog will hold their own giveaway 
                               for approximately 5 days, (so be sure to check them out soon!)

Tuesday December 2 Sujata Shah @ The Root Connection
Wednesday December 3 LeeAnn Decker @ Nifty Quilts
Thursday December 4 Victoria Gertenbach @ The Silly Boodilly
Friday December 5 Rachaeldaisy @ Blue Mountain Daisy
Saturday December 6 Lori Dejarnett @ Humble Quilts
  Sunday December 7 Casey York @ The Studiolo
Monday December 8 Malka Dubrawsky @ A Stitch in Dye
Tuesday December 9 Sherri Lynn Wood @ daintytime
Wednesday December10 Bonnie Hunter @ Quiltville's Quips and Snips
Thursday December 11 Jake Finch @ Generation Q
Friday December 12 Jan Burgwinkle @ Be*mused
Saturday December 13 Janet Treen @ Quiltsalott
Sunday December 14 Lindsay Conner @ Lindsay Sews 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Up Down Quilt

I asked Eleanor if she would kindly pose with my new quilt, and while she agreed, 
it was with some reluctance... 

she doesn't trust that little vintage kitty chalk head staring down at her!

I made this improv wall hanging using those lovely Cirrus Solids from Cloud9 Fabrics, 
(shown at the bottom of my last post). Very happy with how this turned out. 
Love the colors and I gotta say... 
this fabric is soooo soft!

I choose to finish it with a "faced" finish instead of a traditional binding. 
If you have never tried this technique, (or have had trouble following facing instructions) I have a very easy tutorial on my Tutorials page, (listed above) or you can go directly to it, here.


PS. Well aware at how infrequently my posts have been lately... I love this blog, but posting is a very time consuming activity, and I really only want to post when I feel like I have something interesting to share or something important  to say. However, remember, I can always be found over on Instagram, where I usually post something everyday. It's the "behind the scenes" stuff... works in progress, design ideas or a local photo of something that inspires me or makes me happy!

Hope to see you over there as well as here!

Have a super weekend everyone!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Amused Inspiration

I've been continuing to play with the possibilities of the EPP block that I showed in my last post. I'm calling the block "Porch Steps" and I came up with so many possible quilt designs, with just this one block, that I had a hard time deciding in which design to invest my time. 

(Oh, if only there were enough hours in the day to sew every design option!)

But it was after a fun trip to Knoebels Amusement Park with Hubby, (first time there without kids!) that I knew for certain which direction to take.

Who could help being inspired by the fun colors and the turning, twirling 
of everything that one finds in such a place? 

Certainly not me!

(Which coincidentally is exactly what I say when anyone wants me to ride one of theses stomach turning, world spinning, vertigo inducing things!)

 Now that I had settled on a direction, fun colored Grunge fabrics were selected.

Paper templates pieces were cut, covered in fabric and stitched into the blocks.

Coded pieces and helpful binder clips helped me stay organized and hold it all together.

Blocks were stitched together.

And a sigh of happy amusement was uttered when I saw it all come together,
reminding me of my my happy inspiration.

Now I just have to quilt her and bind her and I think create a PDF pattern for her!
(And I think I shall call her "Ferris Wheel" as it's a ride that I actually enjoy!)

And as for my next project, I already know what fabrics I shall be using...

These oh so lovely Cirrus Solids from my friends at Cloud9 Fabrics
I was so happy when I first heard that they were coming out with their own line of organic cross-weave fabrics, and floated on my own cloud 9 when they generously sent me this gift bundle. 

By the way, cross-weave's belong to the same family as shot-cottons and chambrays and the names often get used interchangeably, so it can be confusing. All three types share the same trait as having different colored weft and warp threads. Technically, (at least from my understanding) chambrays traditionally used white as one of those colors, (think of those pale blue chambray oxford men's shirts). However I have bought fabrics listed as chambray's that had no white in them at all, and were more of a traditional shot-cotton. Cross-weaves and chambrays generally tend to have a more quilt weight hand to them, while shot-cottons traditionally are more light weight, and have a lovely drape to them, but again, I have bought shot-cottons that were more quilt weight. Most cross-weave fabrics that I have used, (including these Cirrus Solids beauties) have a more subtle color variation to them, meaning that while the weft and the weave are different colors, the difference is minimal. Most, (but again not all) shot-cottons that I have used have more of a defined difference in the weft and warp colors, creating an almost iridescent color about them. All three however have a depth and interest then any regular solid colored fabric where warp and weft threads are the same.


Many thanks to those that gave me useful info on my last post concerning the stiffness of some hand dyed fabrics and the difficulty I was finding in hand sewing with them, I truly appreciate the info!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Block Play

If you have been following along with my last couple of posts, you know that I have recently fallen in love with EPP, (English Paper Piecing). I'm continuing to explore the design possibilities of combining this method with creating new blocks, and seeing how those blocks create various designs.

My brain is joyfully being stretched in new directions and I am having great fun playing with block possibilities using this hand stitching technique.

Above is a block that I have recently been working on. I picked some lovely hand dyed fabrics that I bought at my local fabric shop to use, and while I love the effect, I did find that the fabrics were a wee bit stiff, slowing the hand sewing down. 

Question: Is it just me, or do others find hand dyed fabrics, as beautiful as they are, also a bit stiffer to stitch through? And if so, why are they stiffer, even after washing? Is it the mordant used? Can you do something to soften them up? I have experienced this before, and am just wondering... is this my imagination, or do others experience this as well? Would love to hear your thoughts and tips!

Here is what the block looks like repeated 4 times. I am crazy about the large center diamond effect created when the blocks are combined!

Very anxious to explore this block in other colors, and also have several more blocks that I want to begin playing with. Now, if I can only figure out how to squeeze more sewing time into an already too short 24 hour day... !


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Circles and Stars EPP Quilt and Pattern Finished!

I finished my first English Paper Pieced quilt last week, and have been busily working on writing and illustrating a pattern to go along with it. Both are now finished, and the love that I feel for this quilt has spilled over into the pattern, as I love it as well. Very colorful just like the quilt and fully illustrated with easy to follow step-by-step instructions. I've also included photos, lots of helpful tips, quilting and binding advice, a coloring sheet and of course a full size printable template.

The piecing of this patchwork quilt was totally relaxing. Because the individual pieces are sort of "pre-assembled" the piecing seemed almost effortless.

(See that photo above? Well, I've been wanting to get a shot of myself hand stitching for ages... hard to do with only two hands! I finally got this one which I originally posted on Instagram, by using a shoelace to hang my phone camera around my neck and then used the timer feature so I had a chance to position my hands. Where there is a will, there is a way!)

Here is a close up of the hand stitched seams. The circles are stitched in, not appliqu├ęd on, and the pattern fully illustrates how to do it. (Really rather simple!)

I think the most challenging part of this project for me was coming up with a quilt design that I liked. It took several attempts, and some ripping out of stitches in between, but finally I hit on something that really worked. (The photo above was also taken on my phone as well, but late at night with poor lighting. Still you can see the quilted motifs pretty well.) 

I found it helped me to print out a line drawing of my quilt block and simply do some pen and ink doodles on it, trying out different ideas and how the stitch movement would flow. That little exercise helped loosen me up and think more creatively about my quilting.

The finished result reminds me of a vividly colored press tin ceiling... not that I have ever seen a vividly colored press tin ceiling, but if there were to be one this might be what it would look like!

is now available for immediate download here in my Etsy shop.

Now onto my next EPP project... I think I am hooked!

Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Playing with English Paper Piecing

I was totally enamored the first time I ever saw an English Paper Pieced hexagon quilt, as they are extremely charming. The idea of stitching bits of fabric over the paper templates sounded so utterly relaxing. Over the years and on several occasions, I have set out to make my own wonderful stack of little hexies, dreaming of stitching them into pretty motifs.

And yet on each of those occasions I don't think I ever got past the second hexie before feeling bored and restless. (I think I once made it to the 3rd one, but that was it.) Apparently EPP simply was not for me and I put the notion to rest. So I thought.

However with Pinterest and Instagram, it seems that everywhere I look quilters are stitching up hexies and projects made from hexies that simply make me swoon with hexie envy, and once again I could feel my desire to join in the EPP hexie love-fest swelling.

"This time will be different" I told myself. But in my heart I knew it wouldn't be. It is just who I am... a person who is easily bored.

Then it occurred to me, why do I have to just stitch hexies? Why can't I come up with something that will hopefully hold my attention? And that is how these EPP blocks came to be. Within 10 minutes of thinking the thought, I had the design sketched out and printed onto card stock.

Four done and I am still enamored!

I did find by the completion of my first block, that the hand stitching kicked my hand pain back up into high gear. So I switched from hand-basting, (as seen on the left) to glue-basting, (as seen on the right) and that has helped considerably.

My goal is to keep it doable, making a total of 9 blocks. This will give me enough for a lovely little wall quilt, or a nice sized pillow. We will see.

On the heels of my last, admittedly long winded, (but I think important) post, I'd like to add my apologies in case anyone else has already come up with a similar design. It sure is possible because it sure ain't rocket science, just geometry. I only did a quick look afterwards on the blogosphere, and while I did see other EPP piecing projects that went beyond the hexie, I didn't see anything that looked like my block. If I am wrong, please someone, let me know!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Yours, Mine or Ours? Questions about Creativity and Ownership, and Giving Credit Where Credit is Due.

My husband and I were having a conversation yesterday revolving around creativity, originality, and ownership of such. The conversation began because I was feeling frustrated from seeing quilters ripping off other quilters and not giving credit where credit is due as well as seeing the seemingly same 12 quilts being done over and over and marketed as original designs. (In my defense it was a full moon, and full moons tend to make me a bit more on edge, (crabby) about things. Maybe some of my ancestors came over from Transylvania, who knows.)

My husband was sympathetic, but also, (and wisely) reintroduced the notion that nothing that we come up with is really original. He referred back to a TED Talk given by Kirby Ferguson, based on Ferguson's 4-part Everything is a Remix series. The premise is that nothing in the creative world is really, truly original. Everything is a remix of what has come before us. And maybe it's time that we really started to admit this to ourselves and others and just give credit where credit is due, and keep building upon the creative works that have come before us, creating a better world for all, without getting ourselves all worked up about ownership.

All of this sent me on another long reflection of where I really stand on this, or more importantly, where do I want to stand on this... as in what type of world do I want to help create and be a part of?

I want to live in a world where creativity is encouraged to thrive. Constantly screaming, "Hey, that's my idea, hands off!" limits creativite expression the ability to grow, expand and evolve.

I want to live in a world where people can make a good living off of their work while at the same time helping others to tap into their own creativity and also thrive. Now this is a much tougher issue, and we can get into all sorts of gray areas...

Since most of us reading this blog are quilters, or sewers/crafters in one way or another, let us take for example a quilt pattern that is for sale. That pattern took time to be designed, written, illustrated, and marketed. If someone buys that pattern, then makes 50 copies to distribute to their guild members, (instead of encouraging their guild members to buy the pattern for themselves) that is hurting the livelihood of the pattern designer. That is why patterns can and in my opinion, should be protected under copyright law. Outside of being allowed to give away or resell the original pattern one time, (you bought it, you used it, you have no further use for it. So you pass it on to a friend, or sell it say at a garage sale... that is allowed) ... other then that, you can't reproduce the pattern for sale or to give away under copyright laws.

However, the person buying the pattern should be able to make the quilt and do as they wish with it afterwards, shouldn't they? After all the quilt that they just made is theirs, isn't it? (Sort of like giving a gift... once you give it, it is the receiver's gift to do with it as they wish). And so, that would include selling the quilt for profit. (Technically from my limited understanding of copyright law, it is only the pattern that is protected, not any items made from it.)

But many patterns say you can't sell any items made from said pattern.  Is this really allowed? Should it be? Shouldn't it be? It's a real debate, and one I can see both sides of. In fact I have put those terms on some of my patterns that I sell, and left them off on some others... it really is a tricky catch 22 in many ways.

(For the record, this whole discussion with my husband, as well as the ensuring rabbit hole it thus led me down, has made me clarify my terms, which now are that, the copyright is on the pattern, illustrations,writing, photos... none of those things may be copied or reproduced for sale or group use. Items made from the pattern, (which would fall under licensing rights) may be sold. However that would be on a small-scale basis... what one person, (the buyer of the pattern) was able to make and sell. Factory or mass produced items from the pattern are prohibited.)

In the best of worlds, everyone would be ethical in giving credit back where credit is due, and also would work hard to add and build upon what inspires them, for this is what will promote a better world for all of us. (Think of it in terms of creative evolution which will lead us, according to Mr. Ferguson, to "social evolution").

Again, in Kirby Ferguson's own words:

"We are not self-made. We are dependent on one another. Admitting this to ourselves isn't an embrace of mediocrity and derivativeness, it's a liberation from our misconceptions."

I think that giving credit where credit is due, is much more likely to happen once we start taking those above words to heart. And maybe it will help stop people from feeling like it's not ok to be influenced and inspired by others. We can't help but be inspired.

Of course, there is always the possibility that there will always be folks who just blatantly rip off other peoples creative ideas without putting any effort into building it and morphing it and evolving it into the next creative stage. I am not talking about someone who just wants to re-create someone else's design for pleasure. Or for experience. Both are fine pursuits and doing so has been a teaching tool for all of time. I am talking specifically about those that wish to prosper financially or be rewarded in some external way. These people have no vested interest in true creativity or self-growth or growth of this world as a whole. Basically one could liken them to bottom feeders. How to deal legally with the likes of them may keep the whole copyright, licensing and patent laws a very confusing and complicated legal area.

Going back to quilt designs and quilters though... what about quilt designs that are clearly derived from old standard blocks, but marketed as original designs? How is that fair? Who does one credit? Shouldn't we credit all the unnamed quilters that came before us, giving us their vision, and inspiration? I think we should embrace our quilting ancestors and sing their praises from the roof tops. Modern really ain't so modern, but that is a whole other topic. (But since I brought it up, I really am getting increasingly confused as to what defines a "Modern Quilt" as it seems to me to be getting narrower and narrower, but that just may be my normal state of confusion, and I am now digressing into a whole other topic.)

Back to the original topic... Mr. Ferguson states in Part Three of the Remix series that the basic elements of creativity are "Copy, Transform and Combine". Those three elements are what brings us our inventions, art, literature, music, movies, etc. We take various ideas that have come before, transforming them with our own creative input. Then we combine these various ideas in new ways, all in order to arrive at something something new.

All of that however still brings up yet another question... how original must something be to take it from clearly being a copy of another's work, a derivative piece of another's work, or something that may have been influenced by other(s) work, but is also clearly something created with fresh eyes and vision. And ultimately who decides that?

I have no answers, and it seems to me that the legal laws that try and define that are so thick with layers that they are hard to enforce on any constant or fair basis. This brings us to what Mr. Ferguson refers to as "System Failure" in Part Four of Everything is a Remix series. No doubt about it, we need to find a solution and it's a vitally important conversation, and one that we need to keep having.

In closing...

I want to give credit where credit is due...

So, for the record and in case you missed me saying it before or if I was ever neglect in saying it at all...

I originally became interested in quilting, (approximately 21 years ago) after reading the book
The Quilters: Woman and Domestic Art, an Oral History, by Patricia J. Cooper and Norma Bradley Allen. I read it and re-read it. Their stories still resonate with me.

In my beginning quilting days I was first influenced by antique Amish and Mennonite quilts. And then soon influenced by Nancy Crow, Terrie Hancock Mangat, Jane Burch Cochran, and Wendy Huhn, Jane Sassaman, Mary Lou Weidman, Roberta Horton, Susan Shie, Diana Swim Wessel and Jane Dunnewold. (Seeing their work was my first realizations of what a quilt could be and gave me the permission to explore and experiment as I learned.)

Viewing the quilt The Sower, by Denise Burge, up close and personal, blew my socks off. To this day I think it is one of the best I have ever seen. Although I can't think of anything that I have ever made that was directly influenced by it, it no doubt had a powerful impact on me and thus may one day directly or indirectly influence something that I will produce. Regardless, it has never left my heart.

An important learning experience and most definite influence in working in an improvisational manner, as well as with solids, came from reading Gwen Marston's fabulous book Liberated Quiltmaking back when it first came out in the mid '90's.

Reading Liberated Quiltmaking set me back on a still evolving path to re-visit those antique Amish and Mennonite quilts, but this time really focusing on ones that were improvised as opposed to precision pieced. Those quilts also re-enforced a desire to work with solids.

And from there I was led to explore any utilitarian and improvised quilt that I came across, including but not limited to the works from the Gee's Bend quilters. (Seeing the Gee's Bend quilts in person was akin to a religious experience for me.)

The stories from The Quilters, as well as those from the old Gee's Bend quilter's and the Amish and Mennonite quilts have all directly influenced me in how I look at my rural surroundings and allow myself to glean inspiration from it, just as they were all influenced by their rural surroundings. Through them, I have learned to look at my own surroundings with a more creative and absorbing eye.

I have also been strongly influenced by images I have seen of antique boro cloth, (mostly originating from Sri Threads) and anything dealing with pojagi and kantha quilting.

And last but not least, over the years I, (and thus my work, whether directly or indirectly) have been inspired and influenced by, 1950's si-fy, mid-century esthetics, atomic art, Marion Post Wolcott, Dorothea Lange, Frank Lloyd Wright, Josef Albers, James Castle, Edward Gorey, Elizabeth Layton, Georgia O'Keeffe, Lynn Whipple, Mary Engelbreit, vintage coloring book illustrations, vintage game boards, worn and weathered architecture, rusty things, and, (whew) by the quilted and textile works of Denyse Schmidt, India Flint and Janet Bolton, (the later of which really opened my eyes to the power of the individual hand stitch, placement of fabric and the magnificent possible power in the small.

I am sure that I forgotten some, or never new the names of some, and I know that I have absorbed many more bits from many more sources, but this, for now, is the most complete and concise list that my brain can come up with. To each of them, I give a long over-due and much heart felt Thank You.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Summer Sale and New Quilt Pattern

Hope Everyone is enjoying their summer!

I've currently got a Summer Sale going on...

Selected items are now on sale in my Etsy shop, including the above works. 
See here for the complete selection available.


My Windmills and Silos Quilt Pattern is now available as well! 

Till next time...

Happy stitching!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Windmills and Silos Quilt


The plan was to make another "Raise the Barn Roof High" quilt, 
but this time around use these lovely colored shot cottons. 

But after I made the blocks, 
I couldn't help but to start playing around and rearranging them, 
and this emerged. 
Windmills and Silos. 

(Ok, the windmills are obvious to quilters, but maybe not so much the silos... but to me, right away I saw those diamond shapes as silo tops, and so I went with it!)

After several different attempts at various quilting,
(and ripping out various quilting)
I finally settled on a large stipple
using variegated threads,
I think it was the right choice.

Love, love, love these colors together!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Raise The Barn Roof High - New Quilt Pattern!

I am so excited to be able to share my newest quilt with you.
 "Raise The Barn Roof High" is a fresh and modern twist 
on the old-fashioned classic "Barn Raising" quilts.

Pretty nifty if I do say so myself!

Wonderfully vibrant colored fabrics from Marcia Derse's "Palette" collection for Windham Fabrics, 
is what I used here, but my head is spinning with other color combinations ideas. 
Oh, and wouldn't it be fun using some great prints?
Of course making a version of it in shot cottons is a must do for me!

I love the fun off-kilter half square triangle blocks, 
and how the improvised-liked grid floats in front of the concentric diamonds. 
This was another joyful quilt to make!

I thought long and hard about the quilting, listening all along to what the quilt wanted...
And it wanted spirals!

So spirals it got, and I think it was spot on a good choice, don't you agree?

But the best news is...

 I actually have made a quilt pattern for this...

So now, anyone who would like to learn how to make this quilt, will be able to do so!

The pattern is fully illustrated and along with the instructions on making the 36" x 36" quilt shown here, I've also provided all the information needed to make this quilt in a 
48" x 48" size as well as a 60" x 60" size, for those of you who like to go bigger!

Hey, I've even provided a coloring sheet in the pattern... 
just print it out and play with color combination ideas!

Pattern is available for immediate download after purchasing and can be found in my shop here:

Hope you all have a great weekend!