Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sew mama questions...

I saw Sarah (Narcoleptic In A Cupboard) post her answers to these questions recently and thought I might answer them too!

Looking back at the 2011 sewing scene, what trends stand out in your mind?

I've probably been too new to quilting to know what was a trend and what wasn't. Everythin I encountered was new to me and I don't know what was new to everyone else and what ideas are old favourites! I did notice a lot of triangles at the quilt show I went to, and I'm hearing lots of people doing things with hexagons, but that's about all that stuck me as a "trend" in 2011 .. but you must know I've never been a scenester!

What were some of your favourite things related to sewing this past year?

All the sewing people I've met and the things they've helped me learn! I can't believe that from my quiet blog beginnings when I had but a handful of follwers, I have just hit 50 followers which is more than I even imagined might be possible ... I mean, how many people would want to read about the blundering stitches of a newbie blind sewer?! ... I'm thrilled to have so many friends to chat to and who are willing to share their knowledge and especially take the time to make their posts accessible to me by describing things that a picture could easily say by itself ... that means a lot to me! :)

What did you make that you're most proud of?

That would have to be my first quilt! Most of the fabrics were picked for me by the lovely people at Center for the Visually Impaird's quilt group in Atlanta, based on the colour choices I came up with. I then found a nice fat quarter of owl fabric in complementary colours, and following that chose an owl fabric to make the backing from, and a complementary colour for the binding.

And rather ashamedly I have to say that that was all I finished in 2011! Hopefully I can be more productive in 2012 and even make some nice little gifts for all my lovely friends who have sent me books and fabrics and even little bells!

Here's a picture of that quilt, just to showcase it again ... did I mention it won 3rd place in the men Quilt Too competition on Pigtales and Quilts? ... keep an eye on that website because there's a crazy quilt competition coming up and lots of other good things!

photo of my owl quilt

What sewn projects have you seen this year that you absolutely love?

Obviously with my very limited vision I don't quite see many of the quilts I hear about, and often at quilt club show and tell I really miss that when everybody "oooh" and "aaaah's" at what somebody is showing! But sometimes I can still see a little bit, and if a quilt has good contrasts and strong colours I may get a good (if slightly monochrome) idea of what's going on! An example was a Medallion quilt I saw at a local quilt show. I could see myself trying one of those one day!

On my list of projects for 2012 "Between Now And The End Of The World", I have a couple of quilts I liked the visual look of, in terms of the bits I could see! Included in these are a Supernova design, which I think is like a starburst ... or maybe a giant asterisk ... eitherway I'd like to make one!

I have a whole list of projects I'd like to try too from the tutorials on Sew We Quilt too! Not so much for the visual I've seen, but they sounded so nice that they made me want to try them ... so I have them all saved or bookmarked for future attempting!

What are your thoughts about social media? How is it going for you? What do you love or hate?

I find social media a bit of a mixed bag. In theory I love it, and when I could see I would be on all the networks! ... but to visually impaired folk a lot of the sites are very inaccessible. Facebook for example is hard work unless you use the mobile version of the site and then it is very limited in functionality compared to the main version. Google Plus I'd really like to try, and several people have added me to their circles, but apart from creating a profile I've been unable to get any of the buttons to work with my screen reading software, so I am a mute voice on Plus ... I promise I'm not ignoring you if you've added me to a circle! I'll keep trying it and will add y'all back when I can get it to work for me!

I do enjoy Twitter, where I am @bix_cool. I love the #talknt chat where many quilters come to spend 2 hours in fast-paced talk about quilting and sewing! It's great fun and you should definitely try it out! There is a chat webpage that makes it easy at at this Twitter chat website, or just search for the tag #talknt using your Twitter webpage or client. Huge thanks to Cara for hosting this every week and to Fat Quarter Shop, MODA and anybody else who has sponsored the giveaways each week! ...

Social media does have a nasty tendancy to get in the way of actual quilting though doesn't it?! ... I often think if I spent less time tweeting and blogging I'd get a lot more quilting actually done!!

Did you have a favourite fabric collection or print in 2011?

I like what I've seen of Michael Miller and in the Robert Kaufman collections. I often don't know what I'm looking at, so it's difficult always for me to know exactly "what" I've bought at the shop! lol ... I like the strong contrasts and patterns because I can see them, and a little selection that Thearica sent me of black and whites is eagerly waiting to be made into something, as soon as I decide what!

The Blogger's Choice competition from Laura of Quokka Quilts and Fat Quarter Shop introduced me to many many different fabrics and designers, all of which I want to part with my precious few pennies for, simply by spending hours browsing the store looking for patterns I could see or names of fabrics that appealed to me in one way or another ... in fact, if anything has spiraled my fabric habit into an even greater acceleration, this competition has got to be it! So there you go, Laura is to blame for wrecking all those New Year resolutions about not buying more fabrics until that stash mountain starts dwindling in size!

Finally, just a nice request, but a serious one, to anybody who has an online fabric store, please do describe the fabrics ... I can't really buy any if I don't know what the main colours or patterns are like, and this isn't just an issue for blind folk! There's lots of people with low vision who would find descriptive text helpful, and just think how many times you've seen an entry in a competition and it's the story behind it that's really inspired you or captured your imagination ... just think, a couple of sentences describing a fabric as "creamy background with dark chocolate swirls and spirals" (to make up an exapmple) might tempt somebody's taste buds who wasn't initially looking for a cream fabric!

Oh, and I also have ideas for some fabrics that I'd love to see made ... not really saying I'd do it myself because I couldn't do justice to what I have in mind, but some day, I'd love to talk to somebody who knows about that kind of thing!

What do you predict for 2012 in the sewing industry?

Well, since the world is going to end, apparently, I expect lots of people to try and finish those WIPs that are filling up those craft room cupboards, and that people will start trying to reduce that ever-growing stash mountain at least by a fat quarter or dozen ...

I'm interested to see whether Free Motion Quilting is becoming an increasingly popular thing to try, or whether that's just amongst my bloggy friends ... I think it's more widespread than that so watch out for FMQing to explode across the quilt world! I'm going to start with Quilter in the Gap's intro to Free Motion Quilting which was part of her Duo Quilt-a-long, and then I aim to try what Laura (see links earlier) is doing in her FMQ-a-long, so I'm in on the FMQ trip too!

Can you tell us what to expect from you in 2012? Any big projects or life-changing goals?

Crikey, how's that for a pressure question! You'll hold me to what I say, and I'm already feeling overwhelmed by my To Do list!

If all goes to plan you should see a lot of small projects. I have a Rainy Day quilt to finish, but apart from that and maybe a Supernova quilt, I think I want to try as many new ideas as possible ... so watch out for coasters, mug rugs, orphaned blocks, all with different designs as I learn many of the techniques you guys already know!

And quite possibly I might have a giveaway to celebrate hitting 50 followers ... well I didn't literally hit my 50th follwer, but I'd like to hit somebody with a nice package delivered by your local postie. Not sure what it's going to be, or exactly when, ut watch out for it coming soon(ish)

Ooh, and thanks for some interest to a comment I made about being able to touch display quilts at quilt shows, there may be some mileage in a challenge! The idea being that anyone who wants to participate can make a "tactile quilt", one which highlights different textures or effects to make it fun to run your fingers over! Then at the end of the challenge all the quilts will be auctioned or donated to charity ... the details are still being pondered, but watch out for that mid-year! Of course there will be prizes and things too! Sound like fun? Let me know you're interested so I can pick your brains and know what kind of size challenge is in hand!


  1. Brilliant post Giles! Love the sound of the tactile challenge.. And wow! I really hope you can get further with your own fabric ideas :-) Did you know that most of the online fabric shops are contactable and would be more than happy to help you come up with a bundle! I've emailed Pink Chalk fabrics before and they're really helpful and nice to talk to.

  2. I think you are being too hard on yourself... enjoy making your projects do not worry about volume. Join Sandy at ... QUILTING FOR THE REST OF US....She is leading a SLOW QUILTING movement taking time to make a quilt for the joy of making the quilt, the process... not just to crank out tons of projects.


  3. I think we need to have a chat about Spoonflower so I can help you make up some fabric designs. I'll email you.

    I often find pictures on websites for fabric a little misleading and the descriptions slim to nil so sometimes you're left guessing what type of fabric it is. So I'm with you on the movement for better descriptions!

    I'd totally go for a tactile quilt and would be happy to make one for charity. You know how much I love things like cord and velour and voile...all smoothies I know but you can't help but touch them! hehe!

  4. Great review of the year, and looking forward to seeing where your fabric ideas go. Was a bit disappointed in the tactile challenge though, I thought it was going to be find a quilt show and see how many you could touch before being turfed out ;o)

  5. Like Nonnie said, don't get all hot and bothered about volume. I hand piece and quilt all of my quilts (one done so far, and one basted for quilting), so for 2011 I have finished 1 UFO and made good progress on completing another (that should finished by next weekend, fingers crossed).

  6. Interesting answers to the questions! I have a friend who is a blind quilter, in Kentucky, and she describes so many things she's doing, I'm always amazed. She recently bought a treadle sewing machine to use! You finished one more quilt than my best friend did last year, and she has been quilting for over 15 years, as well as having lots of everything she needed to finish - just gets distracted and starts too many things! I think FMQ is enjoying a rise because the cost of both longarm machines and longarm quilters is out of range for people whose income has dropped in this economy!

  7. Fabulous post and I hope you get somewhere with the fabric descriptions - what a great idea!

  8. BlueHost is ultimately one of the best web-hosting provider with plans for all of your hosting needs.