Monday, 15 September 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Nominated by Audrey from hot pink quilts - Audrey's great, she makes such a range of things and she uses fabric in such a different way to me. I love seeing what she comes up with, always gorgeous, always left of my field, and always inspiring. Go check her out if you don't know her already!

What am I working on?

Right now, I'm finishing a bag for my niece that I started earlier this summer. I took a pattern I have and made it a bit smaller and planned to add a flap, that has made this much harder for me than I ever anticipated. Using denim for the first time hasn't helped either. This is how it stands right now - I'm tempted to call it a day and have a funky new clutch for my own!? Too cruel though, too cruel - it'll be my next finish, but it's not going to be the greatest one ever.

It would make a great clutch though!

Then next up is a shirt for Paul, my first foray in to menswear. I'm using the Negroni pattern from Colette and hoping that the myriad of sew-along material online will help me through this - I'm scared of the buttons. It's his first anniversary present, already a day late - but I've had an awful flu-esque cold this last week and it's really knocked me sideways.

Between now and Christmas I'm trying to be realistic, and take into account all the regular life stuff I want to achieve too. So, I want to finish this Retro Flowers AMH quilt for my sister, it needs squaring up and sewing together before I even get it to a top.

Then I have a possible very large, the biggest I've ever made quilt, in the works. I have all the material bought, the block chosen, the vague layout planned on my computer. The fancy material (shot cottons - eeeeee!) washed but only half ironed. I'm stalling. I don't know if I can do it all before Christmas. I want it to be really good. I'll think about it during the shirt, I think I need to just bite the bullet and start. No pics of this yet...

Always the quilts for me on the longest finger!

Then I've made a little drawer of smallish projects that I can work on when I get bored or need a change of gear or hit a wall on one of the big important projects. These don't have a deadline and are all selfish, so I can take them out and pop them away at whim. Oh, and let's not forget finishing my Texas quilt, I haven't forgotten and I still love it.

These leftovers will become a large cushion!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

All I hear is Scooby-Doo shrugging 'I don't know, Shaggy' to this.

I think I'm too young a quilter. I don't know my own style yet. I'm learning things I don't like, I hate following a pattern - that's why Retro Flowers has taken so long (over a year now). However, this doesn't follow to clothing and bags - I love those patterns, I've learned so much about construction from them. So maybe I need to try out a couple more quilt patterns and see?

My 2nd quilt, made two years ago.

What I am trying to do more and more is just follow my own instincts. I'm much more likely to see a quilt through if it's something I really want to see when it's finished. I think I also need to make something for a clear reason - not that it has to be for a specific person, or a specific bed, or wall (something I never thought I'd say, I used to be 100% anti-wall-hangings), but just I'm making this quilt to test out x technique, or to see what happens if I mix this and that. I have a plan to make a mini applique quilt and then wash and tumble dry it every day for a month just to see how it wears. But yeah, I think I need everything I do to have a defined purpose.

Could I render a photo in fabric? Draft my own paper piecing? Do
interpretive quilting?

I've definitely rambled here.

Why do I write/create what I do?

I started because I wanted to give something tangible to family who were really far away and going through major life stuff we couldn't be there for. I discovered that quilting drew together the geometric designs I'd been scribbling in the backs of science copies since I was a teenager and the pieces of fabrics I'd been buying just as long but doing nothing with. I'd always hated clothes making when I came across it because of the bloody tissue paper the patterns come on, though Swedish tracing paper and pdf patterns are changing that for me now. But quilting, quilting had it all.

Rainbow Skittles - the first quilt I designed.

Plus it was a creative outlet that I'd never had. I'd played music as a kid but never been interested in writing any. I always thought I was terrible at drawing because I have no innate talent, and it never occurred to me (so stupid) that practice might improve things. But sewing is creative and practical, and I love it for that. I really really like making things that can serve a practical purpose when you need them too, but are also just gorgeous or clever or surprising.

How does my writing/creating process work?

I generally don't think about this too hard in case I frighten it. I think at different times it just prefers to come out in different ways. Some days it's all about the actual making, some days it's the pulling colours and fabrics and putting them together. Other times I'll sit down with pencil and graph paper, or Adobe Illustrator, and design pattern after pattern. The latter only happens a few times a year, and other times I could sit there for days and nothing would come. If it was my job, I'd probably have to work on making each happen a little each week and rotating them, but I can just enjoy them as they burst forth. It's nice.

Another one of my own designs.

I am easily distracted, if I have to get up and walk to the iron too many times I'll easily get lost on the way so it's important that I have the radio on or a podcast. Something to keep my mind from wandering. The writing portion is easier, way easier than any of the academic writing I did before this. I actually write straight to the computer for the blog, for work I always had to jot a plan by hand first - sometimes I can be very analog.

Kate's Quilt, this summer, my quilting's come on a lot!

It's always hardest to make quilts for others, for me anyway. The added pressure of figuring out their aesthetic and incorporating that into how you do things. It's a good challenge, but it can be stressful - generally in proportion to how much you like the person I find. I've also learned this year that I really do put a lot of myself into the quilts I make, and when I'm feeling down or in need of recharging it's really hard to continue to make things for other people. So I'm definitely going to be taking that into account in the future, and making sure that I have a greater balance of projects for me, that further my growth in sewing, as well as sewing gifts here and there for the people I love!


Now, the idea behind this is that I nominate two people to post their contributions to the Around the World Blog Hop next Monday. Honestly, I'm having a hard time remembering who in my feed hasn't done this already and so I thought I'd leave this open to any of you reading this who haven't taken the opportunity to post yet and want to! Next Monday is your day, I nominate you - just let me know when you post or if you plan to and I'll come and have a read, I really do love seeing how differently we all approach the exact same thing. It's fantastic :)


  1. Thank you for mentioning the "making quilts for other people" dilemma. I always feel the same way--it's too hard to figure people out, and then it drains me creatively because I just don't get as excited about it. I probably shouldn't say that, but it's true!! (P.S. I'm not volunteering for the blog

  2. Very interesting read! Loved your comment 'Plus it was a creative outlet that I'd never had.' So true for me as well. I have a terribly hard time making quilts for others too. The last several years I've tried more and more to just make quilts for myself and then if it ultimately turns into someone elses quilt I don't stress so much.:) I just cry because it was supposed to be MY quilt. lol


Thank you so much for commenting! I love hearing your honest thoughts and opinions on whatever I've been harping on about :)

I email replies as soon as I get the chance.