Saturday, 25 August 2012

More Farmers Wife Blocks!

Friendship Block

Quilting is coming second or third these days, while I enjoy the last couple of weeks of summer. The last couple of weeks of freedom with my little girl before she starts school for the first time.

Honey's Choice

So I'm squeezing in time for sewing only after I've put in some time doing other things. The things I am really going to miss come September...the spontaneous walks, trips to the pool, and yes, even playing Barbies.

Old Windmill

But I have not forgotten about my Farmers Wife quilt. I am loving this long, meditative process. I love picking out random fabrics to combine in different ways for all of this crazy geometry. When I get a window of time, I put on some music, or a podcast (This American Life is perfect - an episode lasts just about as long as it takes me to make one block or two), and I get to cutting and sewing. 

Peace and Plenty
It's the most wonderful hobby. I reached a point this year when I thought I could take it beyond the realm of hobby into business, but I don't think I'm ready for that yet. I'm fortunate to be able to stay-at-home with Isabella, and each time I tend to speed away from that I find the need to put the brakes on. For me, it's not the moment yet.

Noon and Light
Because of this, I recently made a very difficult decision to turn down a place at a great university in London because it would compromise me a little too much and Isabella would need after-school day care. Though lots of parents do it, that was a sacrifice I had no real justification for. Like I said, just not the right moment.

Maple Leaf
 But I will be studying again, just online. We shall how that fits - I am optimistic and getting excited to start learning new things again. (It's interesting to see how those last few sentences reduced a weeks-long agonizing decision into such simplicity. I think that if my ego hadn't been party of it, it would have been very simple indeed.)

Mother's Dream
 In the meantime, there is no shortage of learning new things with this quilting process. Denyse Schmidt's Flea Market Fancy line makes these blocks come alive with whimsy and cheerfulness. And some blocks are downright frustrating.

Bat Wing
I think I've got nearly 60 blocks now, not all of which are pictured below. There are at least two blocks that I don't think I am going to do at all - both of which are flower baskets. The flower pots were stretching it, too. I think they may be a little bit too country-style for me. Maybe I will change my mind - we'll see!

Check out my Threadbias page for photos of all the blocks so far! 

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Festival of Quilts

I am making this post happen, even though I am dog tired after walking around the Festival of Quilts all day. Apparently, it's the largest quilt exhibition in Europe. After today, I think I can believe that. It's held every year in Birmingham, England and this is my third visit, in the three years or so I've been sewing. Everything on display was wonderful to see, even the quilts that truly are not my style. The technical feats and artistry of so many quilts humbled me, as it has each  year I've gone. Here you can find quilts representing traditions of antiquity to protestations against war. Truly, textile arts should be given a better showing in the modern art world.

The lovely Amy Butler stall
 One thing that really stood out was the absence of so many modern quilts in the exhibition itself. There is a large section of the exhibit designated for "art quilts", and another for traditional quilts, but a lot of the sensibilities found in the online modern quilting scene weren't found here in abundance. In fact, I saw more of the modern quilts that I'm drawn to in the vendors' section, where you could find stalls from Amy Butler to the Japanese Echino and Kokka fabric lines.
Liberty - celebrating their new quilting cotton line

There was also very little attendance today from quilters under the age of 50, which surprised me this year. It seems like we are in the middle of a craft and sewing resurgence so I was expecting to see more people my age this year compared to the last time I went in 2010. The online sewing community is so vibrant and active that I keep hoping to see more of this in real life!
My old favorite - Japanese cotton and linen from the Eternal Maker shop

I came to the festival today with my friend Aneta, and three small children between us. It was a bit hectic with the crowd (and it was packed in there!), but our two girls absolutely loved it. They were talking about color, what shapes they could was so great to see them interested. It does help that we found some Dora the Explorer, and then there were random unicorns and dragons to be found too. They never once got bored!

our girls, talking color and composition :)
Loved these colors somewhere near the Rowan booth
 There was just so much to see. If Birmingham wasn't an hour and a half away, I'd probably try to go again before the show ends on Sunday. But as it is, I have more motivation than ever to continue on with my Farmer's Wife quilt. I think I'm on block 60 now, which is more than halfway through!

New fabrics to come from Lotta Jansdotter - one of my beloved Scandinavian designers
plus, some patterns from the irreverent and cool Sublime Stitching!
 If all goes according to plan tomorrow, my day will be filled with quilting and scanning the pages of my online fabric shops for some of the sweet designs I spied today.

Lots of old and new with so much overlapping goodness to see
If you're the area, the Festival of Quilts is on until 19 August 2012 - check it out here!