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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!

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!