A little bit of this and, a little bit of that, makes a little bit of me.

Posts tagged ‘Modern Quilt Guild’

Wisdom from the Heart

The world is nothing but my perception of it.  I see only through myself.  I hear only through the filter of my story.  I will live by my own choices and consciousness.  For then, my life is my own and I am truly free.

At times, I don’t see myself as much of a meditative person, especially since sitting around for long periods of time–focusing on mantra, image or contemplating spiritual concepts–seemed boring and useless to me.  Under stress, my attention is immediately turned toward crafting (lately, it’s quilting/sewing.)

Within a few moments of stitching, the body’s relaxed.  The mind is unfrazzled.  Free-hand doodling (aka free-motion quilting) with needle and thread, in the home sewing machine, is liberating–perfect relief from stress, slowing down the pace of the modern life.

The effects of this practical turning of attention were more than I could have ever expected.  “Cuz I experienced such relief from neck relaxation, naturally, my attention would turn to other areas of my body gradually, more and more over time–until I eventually began noticing subtle sensations at the soles of my feet and then the top of my head.  Anything distracts me is balancing.  When life is crazy, it’s good to take time to do something that relaxes me, finding a way of breathing artistic life into materials–whether it be yarn, roving, fabric, paper, paint, or pencil.

The more aware I became of the sensations in my body, the more life was working out for me.  Such that the particulars of life were transpiring in ways that made me aware of possibilities that I never thought possible for me.  Sounds weird?

It has everything to do with awareness of the sensations within the body structure–rather than imagining or focusing the mind on any thought, image or sound.  As soon as I was sewing or knitting, my whole body rejoiced as I suddenly recognized that–not only was I already used to practicing meditation–it was taking me way deeper into that practice, through crafting.

I have become consciously aware of subtle sensations in my body.  When an habitual thought occupies my mind, I can immediately recognize and experience its corresponding feeling.   In that recognition, the habit dissolves (most of the time, anyway.)

Today, I went through a strong purification process.   It felt as if my entire body was passing through a fire, and all the while, I smiled at the pain and tears as they arose and passed away.  It was a great day–with an irresistible Absolute Bag, designed by Marilyn Ulrich of Quiltworks–added to my wardrobe necessity.

“Wow, you made that?  How did you do that?  Where did you get that pattern, design, tool…etc?”  Is this something your hear a lot?

I consider myself blessed as I am surrounded by amazing textile artists, fabulous quilters who are very encouraging. (From left to right: June Jaeger, Laura Wasilowski, Jackie Gehring, and Rosalie Dace at Quilters Affair–Picnic in the Park with Jennifer Keltner)

Guild night was fantastic. I enjoy connecting with people and to learn skills passed down from other generations–skills my grandparents knew.   Next year’s challenge is officially out.  You will see a lot about that in coming months.

Crafting isn’t just good for the soul.  It’s also good for the body and mind.  Americans spend more than $29 billion a year on crafting—a figure that has remained pretty stable in spite of the wobbly economy.  Craft making is on a pendulum, indeed.  Do you have a crafting/meditation story to share?

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

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(still doesn’t do MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook, a smartphone, and a little bit of texting!)

The Bug (Repost–Third Time a Charm)

(Forgive me, please. I had to delete the previous posts due to technical difficulties.) I confess. It’s true. I’ve caught the quilting bug in huge strides fearlessly. A playful path is the shortest road to happiness.

It all started when I participated in PNW Modern Quilt Guild Meet-up last August with some fantastic peeps from my guild. Beyond amazing. Full three-day of excitement, experience, friendship, workshops, inspiration, sewing, eating, walking…

and don’t forget about eating. Portland Cartopia is da best. (I did take a ton of pictures but they are stuck in my old computer. Some day I hope to archive ’em.)

After breakfast on Sunday, we drove to Cool Cottons and waited outside for 45 minutes to be first of 40 crazy quilters to get a free 4-pound scrap bags.

The catch? Each lucky recipient needs to make something quilted using some or all of the scraps and may add one solid for background. (Shown is just a few of the bag.)

What was I getting myself into? I felt pretty dorky as I wasn’t even quilting then. I only made this bag (inspired by this pictorial) for the Robert Kaufman-sponsored tote bag swap two days before the trip (hand-stitched the lining and quilted the straps on the way there.)

The following weeks, I surfed, surfed, and surfed for pattern ideas and found none strike my beginner fancy. When in doubt, design your own. That’s the ticket. Here’s the prototype.

It worked out for the best too since I can’t sew a perfect 1/4″ seam worth a dime, anyway lol Improv quilting is my best friend! So liberating for me to find other women who share the same interest in cutting up fabric into little tiny pieces and sewing them back together as I do. I used up nearly every piece from Cool Cottons’ scrap bag, coupling with one Kona Solid Natural as background and binding. To meet my guild challenge, I made up various sizes of Ohio Star, double stars plus various wonky blocks with the scraps. Personally, it’s a monumental challenge.

Thanks to generous bloggers and guide members, youtube, magazines, books, and gazillion photos taken from past quilt shows/exhibits, the challenge top and pieced backing were finished and sandwiched in late October. I attempted to hand quilt it. Hah. It sat, sat, and idled ’til a week before deadline. From the start, I wanted to do the quilting myself. I was too scared to start. No more time. No more excuse. It’s serious action time to take a free-motion quilting class from sweet Jill Monley at Quiltworks. I quilted two straight days after the Jil’s 6-hour class–free hand, no marking, without a specific plan–quilting’s in after consuming over a thousand yard of Aurifil 50 wt thread. Yep, the 52″ x 64″ quilt is heavily quilted. I just love it. Beautiful drape with great cuddly handle. Next up, the miter-corner binding. I did it with the sewing machine and walking foot. All finished in time for the group shoot. (I ripped out the binding right after group photo so I may execute the invisible binding seam by hand. Crazy, right?!)

There were many happy “first” and fond memories in making this quilt. First “club”. First Quilting meet-up. First quilt challenge (double-dipping.) First design from scratch. First free-motion quilting in my regular sewing machine. It’s a perfect “what not to do” quilt (like quilting with a plan!)

// My Ohio Star challenge quilt details (click here) via Handstitch Studio.

It’s all like a dream, isn’t it? That’s my story. A new crafting charter. Since then, I have taken one more free-motion quilting class from Jill and a sewing curves without pin class by Stacy Vanderlip at BJ’s Quilt Basketand gave birth to 6 more quilts. Yep. Not a typo–SIX quilts. Three of which are global fabric challenges. If you follow me on Facebook, you already knew that. Although quilting was not a part of my family heritage–like it or not–it has become a part of my children’s lives as I indulge my long-time passion for quilts and fabric as an artist.

Now, how do I know I’m addicted?

  • People are cool but quilting is my preferred social activity.
  • I carry a quilt
  • I carry a quilt (as I do with my knitting and spinning) with me at all times ‘cuz I never know when I’ll have a spare minute to add some hand stitching.
  • I legitimately don’t understand folks who say they don’t quilt.
  • I honestly can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday than surfing the net for quilt images, ideas, tutorials, or reading a quilting book, and drinking chai.
  • I buy more quilting books even though I have a stack of ’em that haven’t been read yet.

Joining Central Oregon Modern Quilt Guild (part of a bigger, global organization The Modern Quilt Guild) last year has been the best move. The generous, supportive members gave me all the confidence needed to experiment beyond a beginner quilter’s limit. I have learned so much since last summer. My first challenge quilt (part of COMQG Special Exhibit in this year’s Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show) will always hold a special place in my memory! If you’ve been/are sitting on the fence to cross to the “bright” side, find a local guild to join and jump right in today.

Don’t get me wrong. I still knit and spin. Just need to stretch more hours of a day to fit more play time in. What’s on your plate on this glorious, summery day?

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

ღ¸.•*””*•.¸¸ ”
ƸӜƷ•.¸¸.• ƸӜƷ

(still doesn’t do MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook, a smartphone, and a little bit of texting!)