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You gotta be YOU!

Hello Friends! Here I go! Blog #3 - sort of on schedule!

The question/answer rolling around in my brain this week has been the journey and beauty of finding one's own style. Great topic for talking about with regard to quilting, or piecing, or even simple sewing, or fishing, or golfing, or, or, or... as we define it broadly. There are so many colors, and infinite design choices, I have been known to be easily overwhelmed, paralyzed. Then, sometimes, you just gotta sew. That's really the gist of what I meant in Blog #1. You don't have to go there now, but you can reference it later.

There are so many gorgeous quilters! Astounding, in the truest sense of the word ("shock with wonder or surprise"). I have only been to three quilt shows so far in my nascent (serious) sewing life. I was inspired to get a long-arm sewing machine at the first, in 2014. I showed two quilts at the second (in the 'Emerging Entrants' category). It was the MQX Quilt Festival - New England, in Manchester, New Hampshire, April 2015. The judges were very gentle in their comments to me. I am grateful for the kind encouragement one offered: "All seams are strong and secure." Well, that is important. I submit for your review: Turning 20-again, in vintage prints, and Green Queen Dream (now owned by the lovely Jane Hanley!).

Turning 20 again, vintage prints

But, as you can see, there is nothing of the extra-ordinary about either of them. They are finished. That's about the highest praise one can offer, at a glance. But each is sweet in its own way, and has it's own story of coming into being. Perhaps I'll regale you with that ... at another time ...

The second show was the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Rosa, CA, in which I entered two coats, also mentioned in Blog #1, because I'm so proud each won an 'Honorable Mention' ribbon, in the Wearable Art category. The Ties Unbound, made from my father's and brother-in-law's ties, won in Santa Rosa at PIQF. What a thrill to arrive and find it displayed on the floor sporting a bright green RIBBON!!

And then, in February 2017, without going to the show itself, I entered the coats again, and The Great Blue Heron came home with her own bright green RIBBON!

You will need to enlarge the Heron images to enjoy the thread painting. There was zero margin for error on this coat, so I am happy I stopped when I did.

Each coat had its inspiration, and follow-through to completion. It is very satisfying to be recognized, but getting back to the ASTOUNDING quilters who showed at all of the festivals I was lucky enough to attend, I cannot convey in words how breath-taking their technique, their execution, their imaginination. Dumbfounding. Gobsmacking! Certainly great heights to aspire to, and yet...

And yet... While there are many many marvelous quilters I truly idolize, (Judi Madsen, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, Sherri Lynn Wood among them), I am content, myself, to be a sewer of the pedestrian variety. I sew for the freedom I feel in the motion. I sew for the achievement of something to show for my time and imagination and focus at the end of the day. I sew because I get the feeling of something I need to construct, because there would be no other way to experience it otherwise. To sculpt my vision.

These, too, are laudable pursuits. Perhaps I've won my ribbons (although, I do have an idea or two in the back of my mind as to the next Wearable Art piece to create and enter into competition). In the meantime, I am content, as I say, to sew for the love of it. To be inspired by a simple pattern and discover the surprises it has in store for me. One of my favorite lines from a movie, to quote the farmer in "Babe," "That'll do pig. That'll do." Yes. It will ALL do, quite nicely.

Discovering my own 'voice' in my sewing is the juice of the journey. Confession: my 1/4 seams are not always 1/4 inch. Sometimes I have to trim blocks that are meant to be 7 1/2 inch to 7 inches! I seem to be OK with that. The sky hasn't fallen yet.

As I said before, each quilt (or any sewn piece, for that matter) has its own story, and I know I've heard those stories told to me in no uncertain terms by the pieces themselves! Why would I, how could I argue with that. Each creation is worthy, is beautiful, is perfect in its own way. Let that be our mantra and let us not deride ourselves for not being miles and miles ahead of our journey. I, for one, wouldn't wish to miss a step of my evolution. Declare who you are - right now. Declare and delight. Let us enjoy where we are, together, right now.

Thanks for reading.

I will leave you with an interesting link I enjoyed about half rectangle triangles, and a picture of what I created using the technique.

Although this was all fabric of a certain collection, (which appear to be Jennifer Paganelli of another time), it might be too busy to be completely pleasing in the long run. I'm not discounting it, but I can see we (I, that is) may need to discuss the 5 finger method of choosing fabric - in the next blog... Large scale print, medium scale print, light, medium, dark

Here.You can get a head start on me:

Here is another very fun short tutorial video by delightful Teresa DownUnder (whose tutorials I really love) - showing what can be done so simply, combined in such a variety of ways. Have fun! Maybe we can try this one together! Send me a comment if you're interested.

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