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I love all things sewing!  It's all about the creative journey.  All my blog posts are letters to my sewing alter-ego - Lola!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

One Face Says It All!

Dear Lola,

As you know, I love to have the television on in my sewing room - sometimes I'm just listening, sometimes I 'm watching.  Last night, I watched an episode of I Love Lucy and I was laughing so hard I was snorting (don't tell anyone that sometimes happens when I laugh too hard).  I had been having a rough week at work, not bad, just rough.  You know the kind of week I mean - when you feel like everything you start doesn't get finished, and the "to-do" pile on your desk is getting bigger instead of smaller.  That was my week!

Coming home and heading up into the sewing space made me feel somehow better, more powerful, and certainly happier.  Even though I knew I might not finish a project, I could surround myself with things I love.  There is just something wonderful about bonding with a little fabric; organizing my Aurifil threads in a pleasing palette; hanging my rulers back in their spots; and dreaming about projects I want to create.  I was having a peaceful domestic scene.

I had a big mess on my cutting table from a project I had worked on earlier in the week, so I calmly got it organized and put away.  I felt a sense of accomplishment that I just didn't get at work this week.  Yes, it's true, sometimes I feel like I spend more time cleaning the sewing room, than actually sewing in it!  Making the room tidy made me feel powerful.

During the episode of Lucy, she was making her usual signature faces.  The expressions that Lucille Ball mastered are mind boggling!  Her comedic abilities are unparalleled. She could convey an entire story in a single look.  Her expressions could be frozen and used as writing prompts for a college creative writing course.

Fast forward to this morning.  I woke and proceeded to go through my normal morning routine - checking social media while drinking my coffee.  My friend Sue, who is not a quilter had this picture posted to her page - I laughed so hard I nearly snorted my coffee up my nose!  (I think I need to work on that snorting.)

This was an "AHA" moment. I then realized that it was up to me to practice a little creative writing of my own, and use Lucy's expressions as that writing prompt I envisioned and pretend "Lucy is a quilter".  I think I captioned her photos below pretty accurately.  I'd love to hear from  my followers to see if they agree - one face says it all! 

By the way, as I begin a project today, I'm making the same face Lucy is making in the bottom left hand corner - "See I was right to buy 3 yards".  Which face will you be making?

Hugs and stitches,

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Only "resewlutions" here!

Dear Lola,

At this time of year, everyone likes to make their annual New Year's resolutions. They like to vow to lose weight, get organized, travel, learn a new skill, be nicer to loved ones and appreciate life more. It's a time-tested, noble tradition and I ordinarily make a list of my own resolutions.

This year, I decided that I'm unlikely to lose weight, get organized or travel more.  Don't get me wrong, I'd be happy with attaining any and all of these resolutions - but they just don't excite me as much as some "Resewlutions" I have!  I know, it's a completely made-up word - but what the heck. There are lots of words that make it into our vocabulary that start out as completely made-up!

So here goes - my list of Resewlutions:

  • Learn hand embroidery.  This is huge for me.  I hate handwork!  I avoid it like the plague.  But, the stitches are so pretty, I realized that I have to get over my fear and take the plunge.
  • Make a T-Shirt Quilt - At Christmas 2013, I promised my daughter-in-law I would make her a T-Shirt Quilt.  This past spring, she brought me the T-shirts and I need to finish this project up.  It will be my first foray into the land of T-Shirt Quilting - I don't know if I will love it, but I am excited to make something for one of my most favorite people on the planet. 
  • Master machine applique.  I love the look of machine appliqué - but I have never had the patience to work on improving my technique.  I need to apply some enthusiastic practice and maybe I can find a way to acquire this skill.
  • Organize my fat quarters!  I know - you are silently laughing to yourself.  I've been saying this one forever.  But I mean it, 2016 is the year I get this mess under control.  I'm tired of all those crazy plastic bins and the hunting-mess that I create every time I'm looking for a fat quarter.
  • Throw away or give away all my old books and magazines.  Let's face it - I hate dusting them!  Most things can be found on the internet and I have been hanging on to these outdated magazines and books for far too long.
  • Make 5 charity quilts.  This resewlution is a no-brainer.  If I make 5 charity quilts - I just might get rid of some of those unwanted fat quarters! It will make me feel great to do something nice for someone else too.

I'm sure I will continue to add to my list throughout the year.  The amazing thing about resewlutions is how making them is so much fun!  I've never been this excited to sit down and make a list for the New Year.  Long live the resewlution!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

100 Day Challenge

Dear Lola,

I have decided to challenge myself to be completely and utterly happy for the next 100 days.  I am going to find a way to involve myself in a sewing activity every day for next 100 days.  I am certain this will bring joy to my daily outlook and as they say, "nourish my soul."

I'm so convinced about the importance of having sewing in my life every single day, that I am going to stretch myself to improve my handwork.  I'm going on a trip that will prevent me from taking a sewing machine, so my handwork will be along for the ride. 

One of the important aspects of my "100 Day Challenge" is that I am not giving myself any sewing project quota.  I'm not giving myself some arbitrary number of projects to finish during this time.  This challenge isn't about finishing UFO's or learning new skills.  I'm doing this to demonstrate the joy that sewing brings to my life, just because!

Each day, for the next 100 days I will sew!  I will find time in between laundry, grocery shopping, work, errands and everything else that makes my day mundane.  I will schedule time for a visit to my sewing space.  I will treat my sewing time like the necessity it is!  My sewing time will find itself on my daily list right next to morning coffee.  It is something I need in my day to get through the day.

So here we are on day 1, and I already feel the the joy and happiness.  Sewing always brings a smile to my face and makes life happy!

Hugs and stitches,


Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Thread that Connects Us!

Dear Lola,

In the next few months, I will be traveling a bit for my consulting work and for the quilt shop where I work.  It's quite exciting to be with other quilters and enthusiastic sewists from around the country.  I love seeing the quilting and sewing projects that are traveling too.  I always think, "what would these quilts say if they could talk?"  

The projects inspire so many new projects.  The new patterns and fabrics create so much artistic synergy.  Some projects are copied exactly, while others create a segue in a quilter's mind that develops into a completely new and different project.

As you know I have insomnia, but I always find it even more difficult to sleep during these creative excursions.  My mind is like a computer with a thousand tabs open, processing and formulating new directions and connections.

The metaphor applies to all the new friends we make and meet too.  I was at a wonderful Tuffet Affiliate Workshop recently and the connections that were made there were amazing.  These ladies are like sisters to me and we have been keeping up with each other on social media.  They are have been teaching wonderful classes and introducing tuffeteering to so many enthusiastic tufeteers!

While I wish I lived closer to these dynamic women, I know in my heart we are always connected.  I will always be rooting for their success and quilting and sewing happiness.  That's the beauty of quilting.  Side by side, or miles apart, quilting friends will always be connected by heart!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sewing Friends are Better Than Pixie Dust

Dear Lola,

The picture above says it all!  It's better to be sprinkled with life-long friends than pixie dust!  The best part of quilting and sewing is all the extraordinary friends to be made!  When I moved to North Carolina nearly 8 years ago, I didn't know a single person living here!  I decided to take up sewing and voila - instant friends.

People that are incredibly dear to me and have proven themselves through thick and thin came into my life through sewing.  My friends Melody and Brenda have been my personal rocks.  Yes, like all friendships, we can have rocky moments - but they are the stitches that hold my life together.  When I got to know them, it was as if I had known them my entire life.  They bring laughter into my life like no one else.  In fact, we can laugh so hard that we might almost wet our pants (sorry, if that's too much information).
Melody, Lori, Brenda - Stitch Sisters

No matter where sewing takes you, there are wonderful friends to be made.  When I joined a block of the month program, I met another dear, dear friend Chris.  We clicked immediately.  We talk on the phone almost every day and try to get together to sew as much as possible.  She is my retreat sister and my spiritual guide.  She keeps me grounded and shares so much of herself with me.  I thank God for her friendship everyday.

Over the years, selling fabric, machines, software has made me the best friends too!  Connie H., Kris, Debra, Pepper, Jeannie, Jennifer, Bonnie, Jane, Jodie, Lisa, Ruth, Shelley, Renee, Dottie, Bob, Page, Julie, Sudi-Laura, Karen, Diane, Kathleen, Sharon and Pat come to mind.  These ladies are super special to me and are very dear confidantes.  We stay in touch at work or reach out to one another through Facebook and casual get-togethers.

Classes and trainings have brought special friends into my life too!  I have tremendously enjoyed my very special relationship with Sharyn of Tuffet Source.  Her sunny, happy disposition is such a joy.  I have even had the privilege of working for her and helping to build the Tuffet Empire.  The ladies who came from near and far to attend a workshop in Winston-Salem and are now my "near and dear"!  Love them all:  Kerin, Jeanne, Cheryl S., Cheryl B., Kristen, Karena, Kimberly, Judy, Nancy, Marti, Brenda, Lise, Sandy, and Kathleen.

Tuffet Affiliates - March 2015

My guild has given me super special friends too.  Ina, Karen, Connie, Penny, Laura, Roberta, Sue-Ann, Myra, Ginny - the list goes on and on.  Ultimately my guild also gave me the dear sweet friends in my Bee - As the Thread Turns.  These ladies and I meet once a month and they keep me in stitches - literally,  Love them all:  Angela, Carla, Kathy, Dottie, Pat, and Rae Anne.  This monthly collaboration and feeding frenzy is something I cherish beyond measure.

Lola, I could literally go on and on!  When I think about it - quilting and sewing has given me more wonderful and special friends than I could have ever imagined.  Thank goodness for these wonderful friends.  Their friendships are definitely more magical than any amount of pixie dust!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Good Stash - Not Everyone is Worthy!

Dear Lola,

You have watched me over the years adding and adding to my stash. It's true, I have put together some of the most beautiful imaginary quilts that will be made at some future date.  Like all quilters, I go through that period of self-loathing for owning way too much fabric, and then I feel compelled to create a quilt using only my stash.

Since some of the stash has been on display on my shelves (I hate to admit it), for years as colorful, artistic inspiration, I have become very attached to it.  There are some fabrics that I love almost too much to ever cut up.  But let's face it, God forbid I die - there is no one in my family who is likely to sew with this fabric so it's time, as they say, to let the cutting, sewing and quilting begin!

Ok, now that hurdle has been crossed, we arrive at the next hurdle.  What to make; and who will be the lucky recipients of these "good stash-worthy" quilts?  Having loved the fabric for so long and so passionately, I need to select carefully when giving away these quilts.

Lola, I can hear you now, "Why?"  Well the answer is simple, I have to be able to keep an eye on my stash up close and personal.  I have a need to know where this beloved fabric is at all times (well most of the time).  Putting it into a quilt and giving it away is like giving up a beloved child or pet.  So not just anyone is "good stash-worthy"!

For all you non-quilters out there - be aware!  If a quilter gives you a quilt and she mentions that she has used her good stash - there are two very important things to know!

  • You are greatly loved!  Only well-loved, well-trusted people receive quilts made with the good stash.
  • Check-in time to time with quilter and let him or her know you are caring for and loving the "good stash-worthy" quilt.  

Lola, I promise to post a photo of my first "good stash-worthy" quilt and the lucky recipient.  I also promise I'm going to begin cutting it up today - after I finish my coffee and head out to the fabric shop.  I need a few fabrics for my stash.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Stash building - what's your excuse?

Dear Lola,

You know I think working in a quilt shop is pure joy.  It's wonderful to be around quilters all day and I truly adore helping them select the fabrics for their projects.  Sometimes, I get to assist someone who is putting together an entire quilt and sometimes we are hunting for the perfect backing or binding.  

Every quilter seems to enjoy selecting the "ingredients" of a quilt.  Some quilters effortlessly select the ingredients while others obsess over the fabrics, battings, and threads.  I recently assisted a customer with the thread she was using for her piecing.  We spent over 30 minutes discussing the thread options and colors.  I think she went home with an excellent choice, she was still questioning herself as she left the store.  She was still concerned that she wasn't sure we got it right.

I generally try to select an Aurifil thread that is close to the colors I'm using in my quilt.  I usually settle on a neutral and I am always happy with the results.  I never obsess over the color I use for piecing, just the brand - it has to be Aurifil.  

We also get lots of customers that are "stash building".  Sometimes customers are embarrassed by this. But most customers realize we have heard this many times and they seem to know a quilt shop worker understands this phenomenon intimately!

The shop where I work carries Kaffe Fasset Fabrics and we received our shipment of the 2015 collection on Thursday.  Our customers were anxiously awaiting the unpacking and checking in of these beautiful fabrics and purchased a predetermined cut of each and every bolt.  Not surprisingly, there was no specific projects in mind.  They were just adding these fabrics to their stash - because!

When I'm on the other side of the cutting table - when I'm the customer - I know the quilt shop worker understands my need for stash building.  That being said, my non-quilter friends and family do not seem to understand the purchasing of fabrics that I have no immediate purpose in mind.  

I recently showed some new finds to a non-quilter family member and she asked, "what are you going to make with that?"  I replied, "I don't know yet, I just loved it and had to have it."  She viewed me with dismay, "you already have a lot of fabric in your sewing room, when will you find projects for all of that!"  

If you look at the conversation through the eyes of a non-quilter, it's a perfectly reasonable rationale to wonder how will the quilter ever use all of her stash.  I can see that.  However, I am a quilter and have a quilter's mind.  How can I impress on the non-quilter the importance of stash building?  Then it occurred to me - I was on a humanitarian mission.  There was some fabric trapped in the quilt shop that needed to be rescued!

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!