Friday, March 6, 2015

Waiting for Spring


 Posts have been very sparse here on my blog, and I blame it on the winter! It's been so darn cold, that I just want to stay curled up with a good book and a hot cup of tea. While patiently waiting for Spring's arrival, (ok, not always so patiently) I have been stitching the whole while, but mostly little appliqu├ęd doodles and experimental ideas... nothing that really rocks my boat, (although I have posted a few little things over on Instagram if anyone is truly curious). 

Yup, all in all this winter has been one of quiet activity, lot's of thinking and wondering, but not much in terms of finished product. And that's ok, because I have faith that with the Spring thaw, more abundant creativity will come. If not, I've got a few choice words with a certain groundhog over all this prolonged cold and the effects it has on one's brain cells. 

The piece above is my latest pondering, which I actually did finish just today. It was the result of playing around with some new thoughts on construction methods. 
Hope to explore a bit more on this, but first I need another cup of hot tea!
Stay warm everyone, Spring will be here before we know it. 
(I hope, I hope, I hope!)
xo


Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Quilted Beads and a Cross Quilt, too!


These past two weeks I have been revisiting some favorite paths. First I stitched up this newest Cross Quilt. I used some lovely "Aged Muslin Cloth" from Marcus Brothers, in varying shades of blues and grays, and quilted the piece in an all-over irregular grid pattern


My favorite part of this work are the little subtle bits and pieces of fabric, added here and there!

Next, I stitched up a few new sets of Quilted Fabric Beads...


(Sold)

It's been a while and I have really missed making these! 
My hands have been doing fairly well as of late, so I decided to give it a go...


(Sold)

This time around I used some pretty woven fabrics from India that I found at one of my local quilt shops. The weave is a bit more easy to needle then some of the quilting fabrics I previously used.


 (Sold)

I love the results, but alas, after sewing a few batches, the hand pain is returning... of course I went at it like a mad dog, stitching up a bunch all at once, (I stitched more then twice as many as what I am showing here) and so I need to take a break again... and learn to pace myself! 

(Maybe the key is simply stitching one or two a week.) 
(Note to self: Need to work on moderation.) 
(Hey! That can be a New Year goal!)

And remember, if you want to try your hand at making your own quilted beads,  you can find my Quilted Fabric Bead PDF Tutorial Pattern in my Etsy shop.

Hope Everyone's New Year is off to a great start!
Happy Stitching!
xo

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"


(Detail)


(Detail)



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


(Detail)


 (Detail)

~~~~~~~~

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 Quilt Con 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 Quilt Con, 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