Sunday, September 14, 2014

Around the World Blog Tour

I was tagged by Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for the Around the World Blog Tour.  Sarah is one of the most generous people I know, and I always enjoy participating in her annual Hands2Help charity quilt challenge.  I'm amazed how much she accomplishes in any given week.  I'd swear she has some kind of super power, but she does it all without a cape!

So let's dive right into the blog tour Q and A, shall we?

What am I working on?

Well, hm.  Here is where I'd like to start off with a glimpse of a current fabulous work in process, but as it happens, I've just gotten started sorting loads of thrifted shirts for the next project and I haven't so much as a block made yet.  So what you see is a picture of (most of, heh-heh) the thrifted shirt fabric stash on my cutting table.  

I'll be making a quilt called "Dad's Plaids" from a pattern by Elsie Campbell.  All of these pretties will need to be sliced into strips, sewn together, and starched into a strata before I start cutting the drunkard's path pieces from them.  

It should be fun, but this kind of fun can't be rushed.  And by that I mean I will be taking my own sweet time about it, as usual!
I've also been working on repurposing my daughter's scrubs for kennel quilts for the veterinary surgery clinic where she works.  These are simple little quilts, the important thing being that they're comfortable for post-surgical pets.
~Tea Towel Challenge 2014 quilt top~
And lest I forget (because it's been draped over a piece of furniture so long I hardly notice it anymore), I do have a Tea Towel Challenge quilt needing finishing.  Hopefully by year's end!

Why do I write/create what I do?

It helps me focus my energy into something productive, enjoyable, diverting, and fulfilling.
~String Ring Dresden quilt~
I've sewn since I was very young, mostly clothing, and then started making quilts in my 40s.  Growing up, my mom sewed, crocheted, knit, cross-stitched, and quilted.  My maternal grandmother was also an avid quilter and sewer. 
~My grandmother's quilt, as revised by me~
A few years ago, as my daughter graduated and moved away and I gave up my 8 to 5 job in favor of flexible part-time work, it seemed a natural thing to spend more time on creative pursuits.

As far as why I write/blog, it's mostly so I don't forget!  In addition to keeping a record, I also enjoy connecting with other quilters and sharing with family and friends, since I can't bore my former office mates with show and tell anymore.  And since I've got any number of things swirling around in my head at any given time, writing is a good way to train some of those thoughts into a coherent and sometimes entertaining form.

How does my writing/creating process work?

I'm pretty random, at least it feels that way to me.  As far as writing for this blog, I tend to have a general idea and then may veer off on a tangent, which might relate back to the primary subject, or not.  Sometimes I'll relate an amusing anecdote, talk about some thrifting adventure, or embed a song to share.

With sewing/quilting, my creative process tends to be somewhat random as well, in that I usually have a technique or pattern I'd like to try or a fabric I'd like to utilize or experiment with.  I'm not the most organized person, but I do have a threshold for chaos and clutter.  I need a relatively clear deck, but everything need not be in its place or particularly pretty in my sewing room to begin.  However, I can get overwhelmed by too much going on at once, introvert that I am, so having multiple things in the works all at one time seems more paralyzing than energizing to me.  That said, I tend to get antsy after doing any one thing for too long and need to shift gears.  So I like to concentrate on one thing at a time, but I like variety, the down side of this being that I can (and do; oh boy, I do) get distracted.  Eventually, though, things get finished!
~Ship Shape, from thrifted shirts~
My quilting style leans mostly toward scrappy.  I love new fabric, but I think some of the most interesting and inspiring quilts are those that pay less heed to a particular fabric line and more toward overall composition.  And for me, the more eclectic, the better!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I love quilts that combine "interesting" fabric (some may say ugly), thrifted fabric, disparate scraps, used clothing, vintage tablecloths or tea towels, etc. in ways such that the end result beautifully surpasses expectations based on its humble components.  They're the kinds of things that ignite my creative spark.
~Tea Towel Tess~
I love—make that LOVE—string quilts of every kind, as well as quilts that make my eyes dance (optical illusions, bold colors and patterns, etc.).
~Black and white scraps string pieced on phone book pages~
Personally, I seem to do well working within certain limitations, whether those are self-imposed or circumstantial.  For example, I may have an unusual fabric—thrifted, gifted, etc.—and wonder how it might work with other things in the stash.
~I was determined to use a navy blue and white floral from my sister's dressmaking days~
~The apple print was a vintage thrift store find.~
Or I might hear a song, like "Bang a Gong," and decide to create a quilt around a lyric, like I did for Hubcap Diamond Star Halo.
~Hubcap Diamond Star Halo, made from fabrics found at Goodwill~
That said, I'm not opposed to a good old fabric shopping spree when the mood is right.
~I fell for this entire line, and I still love it~
I'm constantly inspired, enlightened, and entertained by other quilters and creative people.  I think we all have something to share, from the enthusiasm of the novice to the wisdom of the experienced.
~Kaleidoscope Quilt~
In fact, that's what I had in mind when I chose the name for this blog.  The Way I Sew It is not really about any particular way that I do something.  It's more a play on words.  It's a twist on the phrase, "The way I see it," (which also happen to be the opening words of my favorite Joni Mitchell song; see what I mean about tangents?).  It's sharing a point of view.

I celebrate the unique perspective each of us brings to the blogging community and creative process—the way you see it, sew it, or "sow wit," and the way I do the same.

And now, as a final part of this Around the World Blog Tour stop, I pass the honor along to three other fine people!

Mary Wald has a keen eye for the beauty of vintage pieces and a gift for telling their stories.  Looking at her crisp photos and reading about the treasures she describes is always a "stop and smell the roses" moment of my day.  She also embroiders and crochets beautiful things!  I hope you'll take time, perhaps with a cup of your favorite hot beverage, and give her lovely space a look-see.

I met Michelle, The Jypsy Quilter, in an online sewing machine forum about five years ago, and we hit it off right away.  We both bought our Juki machines and started blogs around the same time.  She does very cool things with fabric and has hand-pieced (I know, right?) most of her quilts, including a wonderful New York Beauty.  Michelle has been busy the past couple years working on a master's degree and establishing a career.  I'm happy to say that she has resumed quilting and blogging again, and I think we will all be the better for it!

Elizabeth of Such a Sew and Sew is another inspirational and creative soul.  She puts her heart into every project and her talent shines through.  Not one to do anything halfway ("Go big or go home!"), her energy and attention to detail amaze me.  Her paper-pieced Twilight quilt still blows me away!  She's been working on a special quilt for a woman who just turned 100 years old.  Did I mention she has a big heart?  Pop over and give her some love!

Thank you so much for reading and stopping by.  Hang around, peruse the archives, and/or come again soon.  And feel free to say hi in the comments!


  1. Love the shirt stacks. They look so inviting piled up like that (however I will resist starting another shirt quilt because we all know where the last one ended up!)

    Your blog is one of my favourites primarily because you do have so many tangents. Dont change a thing. I love you and your quirky style.

  2. I have enjoyed gleaning a li'l more about you and your creative life. My, you have stitched some mighty purty quilts. Your thrifted shirts quilt is going to look a treat, so many different colours. I must say, I am always delighted each time I read your fun and lovely blog!

  3. This is a really great post - and I completely enjoy your tangents so keep 'em coming!

  4. Drunkard's Path is on my next year's "to make" list. Looking forward to seeing your Dad's Plaids finished.

  5. Each quilt that came into view was so lovely that I thought "this one is my favorite" but then along came another and another! No fair! This is way more tun I could absorb at one reading! I ike the stash of plaids and am wondering about the plaid pattern. I think I need to try it sometime after I finish my restoration. It's going so slowly due to hands going to sleep, that I may never finish it.

    Thank you so much for sharing all this with us!

  6. I love seeing all your beautiful quilts again - so many of my favorites, and many that have been on my bucket list for a while! And FYI, I don't wear a cape because it can get caught in the long-arm quilter……. ;-)

  7. I love your approach to quilting and the way you prefer scrappy and incorporating vintage and thrift fabrics! You have me wanting to do more of that now P! I also love your thoughts on how we, as a blogging community, inspire each other with our creativity. I am so glad that I found you for just that reason. Beautiful photos of so many beautiful quilts!

  8. What a super fun blog post! A chance to see inside your head, or at least your sewing room. Thanks for the tag at the end. You are so sweet, and this is so much fun!

  9. Loved the picture recap of your quilts in amongst the Q&A. :) You've got some real beauties!

  10. How did I miss this? Great post :)

  11. I looked up Elsie Campbell's blog and was hoping to find the pattern for "Dad's Plaids", but did not find it. Could you point me in the right direction?


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