The Droid Is Not For Sale – supplement for x2 scale BB-8

Woohoo! Lots of you have downloaded The Droid Is Not For Sale, and I have enjoyed seeing your quilts come together on Instagram!

I see a lot of people making just the BB-8 from the pattern – yes, I know… despite it being about Rey, the droid is just so dang cute! So last weekend, during my guild’s monthly sew day, I decided to do the same as a gift for someone. I scaled it up x2 to get a lap quilt:


I kept track of my calculations, and put them in a pattern supplement for you. You’ll still need the original pattern for the construction steps, and I’ve given you only the fabric requirements for the BB-8 block, not the rest of the quilt – I’ll leave that sizing up to you! (I used about an additional 2 yards of background to build mine out to about 45”x 59”)

I also added some snowballed detail to the smaller black dot on the dome – it was too tiny to snowball easily at the original scale (and I’m all about it being easy to make!)

Download the supplement here.

My quilt top is with Nancy Stovall at JustQuiltingPDX – can’t wait to see what magic she makes on it!



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Rey & BB-8 Pattern – color charts – need your help!

Last week, a reader wrote and asked if I could chart the Rey & BB-8 pattern in Kona for her – sure thing!

Not only have I charted it in Kona, but in Hoffman Indah Solids too (I made a second quilt in the Hoffman colors – look for it in their booth at Quilt Con!) – grab the chart here.

I know there are plenty of other solids out there, and would love to add other companies’ info to the chart. So can you help me? If you have a color card for Miller, or Andover, or Art Gallery, or Northcott, or ???, can you please chime in (in the comments) with your best version of colors that will work for the pattern?

Thank you! I’ll gather it together and add it to the pattern download.

HDS.038 - Rey - Cover - 300dpi


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Acknowledging the Contributors: Red (or Another Important Quilt)

Another quilt from the Portland Modern Quilt Guild community that was rejected from QuiltCon West 2016 was Red, by Teresa Coates (quilting by Jolene Knight):


Red, by Teresa Coates (quilting by Jolene Knight). Photo by Bill Volckening

According to Bill Volckening:

“Red is love, war, passion, and blood. This quilt explores the color red with elements of Pop Art, Matisse, Rorschach, red and white quilts and Traditional Hawaiian quiltmaking. It is made with hand needleturn appliqué, computer guided and free-motion machine quilting, and a few randomly placed rows of big-stitch hand quilting.”


Red (detail), by Teresa Coates (quilting by Jolene Knight). Photo by Bill Volckening

And why am I quoting Bill Volckening? Because he is the producer on this one. Bill is a respected collector, appraiser, historian, and all around champion of quilting. He conceptualized this quilt, a rather clever mash-up of artistically notable inspirations, then commissioned Teresa Coates to bring it to life, and hired Jolene Knight to complete his vision.

Why is this important? Because the makers are named, acknowledged, and compensated. While the fine art world seldom names the studio slaves who create the master’s work, over the history of quilting we have fought hard to be recognized by our own names. When we create something, we are no longer anonymous, or only known by our husbands’ names (like the all too common “Mrs. George Jones” of early 1900s quilts).

We are experiencing a boom in quilting, the kind of boom that requires us to delegate some of the work. In my case, I’m just not interested in growing my machine quilting skills to the level of the deeply talented artists I hire to help me. By acknowledging our helpers we maintain one of the best things that quilting produces (and has always produced) which is community.

The fine art world has always done its business with a lot less soul, and these days, I can see some of that creeping into the places where fine art and the quilting world intersect. I hope that, instead of fine art assimilating quilting into its model, quilting instead pushes back and resists, holding onto what makes it great, and changes fine art in the process. This quilt is certainly a fantastic example of that idea in action.

Here’s a great shot of Red, and yesterday’s #lovewinsquilt and Green Cross Quilt hanging at Modern Domestic in their “QuiltCon Rejects” selection this month:


Photo by Bill Volckening

If these are the rejects, I hope to see some very important and great work at QuiltCon.


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Important Socio-Political Quilts

There are a lot of reasons to make a quilt. Many get made for the love of making and artistry, others are made for the love of the people they are given to. But sometimes they get made because they are about something bigger than the people involved.

I’d like to share a couple of quilts with you that I think are important from a historical aspect. Fiber has a long history as an appropriate (and appropriated) medium for discussing socio-political topics, so it makes sense that contemporary quilters continue to use needle and thread to give further voice to causes they care about. The quilt history books remember many groundbreaking quilts, and I hope these end up being documented as part of that lineage. Another interesting thing to note: while socio-political quilts often engage feminist ideas, the following examples are notable for not being limited to issues that are solely of interest to women.

As an aside, these quilts were rejected from QuiltCon West 2016. I know about them because I’m in the Portland Modern Quilt Guild, and am so very fortunate to share a community with the artists who made these works. While I realize that QuiltCon cannot possibly accept every quilt offered, I think they are the best venue to create a category in future shows that is invitational and perhaps curated by a quilt historian, which shows the intersection of quilts and socio-political commentary. After all, the MQG aims to be at the cutting edge of contemporary quilting, and I can’t imagine anything more contemporary than art made as statement about the important issues of the day. They have also already displayed several really important works by artists such as Chawne Kimber (scroll down at this link for some of her powerful word quilts) and Jacquie Gering, so I think this could be a natural expansion of mission for them.

And so to the quilts:

First up, #lovewinsquilt: a celebration of love, equality and optimism. Spearheaded by Kristin Link of SewMamaSew, it’s a collaborative effort from 37 quilt artists. I think this quilt is as historic as the Supreme Court decision it celebrates, that of guaranteeing the right to same sex marriage.


Photo by Kristin Link

In Kristin’s words:

“On the day of the supreme court decision, 6/26/15, I posted on my personal Facebook page, “I can’t get rainbow quilts out of my head, who wants to make a block?” By the end of the day there were dozens of volunteers. Everyone I know who cares about the issue was so high on love that day that I think we all wanted to express it in the best way we know how. I ended up getting 36 blocks exactly, so I put together the top and the back (photo attached in case you haven’t seen it) and then Charlene Trieloff quilted it and sent it back to me to bind. So it really is a big group effort!”

Row 1: Julie McMahon, Susanne Woods, Megan Cavagnaro Dye, Mary Abreu, Gabrien Chaney, Rossie Hutchinson
Row 2: Paloma Link, Mo Bedell, Shea Henderson, MaryAnn Morsette, Heather Jones, Susan Manson
Row 3: Amy Gunson, Elizabeth Dackson, Kristy Daum, Cheryl Arkinson, Laura Harden, Susan Beal
Row 4: Alissa Haight Carlton, Amy Friend, Angela Milliman, Lauren Hawley, Michelle Freedman, Cherie Grzych
Row 5: Heather Givans, Dan Rouse, Becca Jubie, Juline Bajada, Juline Bajada, John Adams
Row 6: Denyse Schmidt, Kristi McDonough, Susan Fuller, Carla Crim, Monica Solorio Snow, Nicole Daksiewicz
Quilted by Charlene Trieloff


Photo by Kristin Link

Next is Gail Weiss‘s Green Cross Quilt (#cannabisquilt), which celebrates the 2015 legalization of marijuana in Oregon.


Photo by Gail Weiss

Gail wanted to create a sweet, functional object that was in direct juxtaposition to the dark and seedy connotations of violent, drug-dealing crime. The quilt was started before the historic decision, but she hustled to finish it on the date it went into law. The green crosses signify the symbol for marijuana dispensaries (and incidentally, they are the symbol for a standard pharmacy across Europe). Gail said she wanted to make a quilt that was beyond merely pretty, one that meant something. She wanted to use fabric to soften the line between the political and the useful, to make a scary thing (for some) less so.

In Gail’s words:

“Pot is not for everyone, but it’s a wonderful option to pharmaceutical drugs for some people, especially those that have severe reactions to medications.”

Many people get great relief and comfort from pot. I think Gail used the comfort aspect of quilting brilliantly to illustrate the concept of her quilt.


Photo by Gail Weiss

Tomorrow: another important quilt, but for a completely different reason!


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The Droid Is Not For Sale – It’s FREE

Spoiler alert: This post is about the new Star Wars movie. If you haven’t seen it yet, you might want to move along… this is not the post you’re looking for!

I love a good action movie, but I’ve grown tired of not having lady heroes to root for. I’m a Wonder Woman aficionado, but honestly, a lot of that is due to a lack of other options on the mainstream super-hero menu.

I’ve seen The Force Awakens twice… fandom of the Force is strong in my family. And can I just say, finally, we get a Jedi heroine. FINALLY.

I have many friends whose daughters are inspired by the character of Rey. She is strong, capable, resourceful, and caring. My friends are thrilled that their daughters saw a woman kicking serious patootie, and not doing it scantily clad, either.

And then come in the reports that Rey has been left out of a lot of the merchandising. You can get a set of all the new fellas (plus a Storm Trooper or two), but not Rey. It caused some outcry, to the point of spawning the #WheresRey hashtag. Hasbro said it was because they didn’t want to spoil the movie for anyone, yet I ask… how does including Finn, Kylo Ren, and Poe Dameron not constitute a spoiler? I’m not falling for that slick attempt at justifying a major misstep in marketing strategy. Suffice to say, Hasbro is hastily adding Rey to manufacturing right now. Duh.

This tired excuse bugged me heartily. So instead of just grumbling about it (see Tina Roth Eisenberg’s “Rules to Live By“, specifically number 3), I decided to do my part to upend the inequality of merchandising for girls: I designed a Rey quilt pattern.

HDS.038 - Rey - Cover - 300dpi

Of course, I included BB-8 because there is no way I would pass up the chance to design an ORANGE droid. And check out the insanely talented quilting done by my friend, and fellow Star Wars fan, Nancy Stovall:

IMG_8924 - Flattened

IMG_8923 - flattened

The pattern is all straight seams and snowballs, with a few templates for the funky shapes. It’s nothing you can’t sew if you can hold to a decent 1/4” seam. It finishes at 42” x 52”, which is perfect for a snuggle, or a great start to something bigger.

Best of all, it’s FREE. Seriously. Yours for the taking – though be sweet, and send people back to me for it, and if you like my other stuff, do consider buying some :-) Yes, I don’t want to tangle with Disney, but more than that, I want our girls (and my fellow fans) to be able to finally have a quilt that includes such a great HEROINE.

So this one is for YOU! You can download it here.

And here’s a chart of suggested colors of fabrics by manufacturer.

May the Force be with you!


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The Gender Discussion

In the last couple months, we’ve seen gender in quilting discussed in several places, and after following the conversations I feel a need to add my voice.

I’ll attempt to pull some threads together for you here (and these are just the ones I know of – please send me others you might think are important to this conversation and I’ll add them):

  • Abby Glassenberg interviewed Luke Haynes on her podcast and asked him about gender in quilting
  • Luke Haynes wrote about being asked “the gender question”
  • Stephanie Boon wrote about why the gender question matters to her
  • Stephanie Forsyth added her thoughts about men and quilting
  • Molli Sparkles added his response (yes, his… Molli is the quilting persona of Joshua Helms)

And so here’s mine (and in just to clear up any confusion that my name, Sam, might generate, I am a white woman):


Women have not achieved equality. So many people think the fight was fought and won in the 70s and 80s, but it is not won, at all. We still, on average, make around 75% of male salaries. Our bodies are governed by restrictive laws made in general by white men. Western politics are driven mostly by white men. Western religions are driven mostly by white men.


This country (USA) came closer to passing a constitutional amendment banning flag burning than it did the Equal Rights Amendment, an amendment that says were are to be treated equally, all men and women, all races and creeds. If you add the number of women in this country (all races) and all the non-white men, their majority far outweighs the white men, yet the power of the white male politics kept this amendment from passing. Think about it. Flag burning might be provocative, but it’s about an inanimate object, and ultimately about freedom of speech (which is protected). The ERA is about PEOPLE. It’s about our fellow humans. And it failed.

If we, as women, do not keep speaking up when we disagree our histories will be dictated and defined by voices that are not OURS. And we need the discourse, the discussions, the passionately fed-up rants and the well-argued dissenting opinions. We need ALL of these conversations to help broaden EVERYONE’S views, and to expose people to ideas they’ve never considered.

Both men and women need to stop trying to silence each other when they disagree, and instead, welcome the conversation. And men, you need to stop using the “you’re not being nice” style of shaming language to shut women up. Here’s an excerpt of a conversation that I endured on Facebook a year ago, when a man jumped into a conversation a female friend and I were having about an exhibition at the Craft and Folk Art Museum of quilts made by men (emphasis mine):

Man: Male quilters are a deviation from the norm, and not-normal grabs more attention. That said these men all are talented and deserve a show, at this museum or elsewhere. Taking more than that from this exhibit is, to me, not fair and doesn’t give the artists in this exhibit the benefit of the doubt.

Me: I concur that these men are talented. I concur that their “deviation from the norm” makes it easy to show their work as a collective. All that said, I get to have my opinion, as you obviously do yours. There is no way an exhibition of the fiber works of men will not create discussion in this industry. And for you to attempt to silence my opinion by telling me I’m not being “nice” by having any opinion that isn’t a flat out politically correct “rah, rah” cheer isn’t giving me the benefit of the doubt either. I will attempt to see this show. I will form opinions about the work and its makers, and about the politics of it (because you can’t discuss gender without politics, especially in fiber). And I will use my intellect and hard fought MFA (in fiber) to have a well reasoned opinion about it that is MINE. Dude, I’m not trying to pick a fight, but don’t tell me how I’m supposed to think about this thing. Women are ALWAYS being hold how to frame stuff. If you think there could be an all male show without discourse, you’re being naive.

Man: I’m not exactly sure how I was trying to silence you. The second comment on this thread is basically saying the artists in this exhibit are getting this attention because they have a penis [note, this was a comment made by the friend that sent me the article]. My first comment was me trying to be slightly funny-hurt. There’s a big difference between having a discussion and me trying to silence you. And if you can’t see that distinction then you’re being to (sic) reactive.

Me: I am reacting to “Taking more than that from this exhibit is, to me, not fair and doesn’t give the artists in this exhibit the benefit of the doubt.” Which I interpret as “So if you take more than that, it’s not fair to the guys, which isn’t nice, so be fair.” Which isn’t really encouraging me to have any discussion that doesn’t align with the “not fair” part.

So first I’m not being fair (or nice) and then when I defend my right to have an opinion, I’m being reactive. And the thing is, I don’t think this man could see how his language is silencing… it’s so prevalent in our culture that it just isn’t recognized, and it IS the product of privilege. This goes on EVERY DAY in the lives of most women. And often at the hands of other women, which NEEDS TO STOP TOO.

So in the spirit of not being silent, here are my responses to some of the ideas that are in the links above:

  • On men being tired of being treated like minorities in the quilting world: Yes, you might be presumed to be the husband in a quilt store. I’m tempted to say, “Get over it. Welcome to the Land of Having Assumptions Made About You Based on Your Gender.” But not because I want men to “feel my pain” (wouldn’t it be lovely if this pain ceased to exist for ALL), but because I want men to understand how it feels, and thereby be galvanized to be at the forefront of teaching other men not to make those types of assumptions about women. And to the women in fabric stores – knock it off; teach more inclusivity by example.
  • On men reacting to (whining about?) negative comment/commentary: Men need to get past the idea that their privilege dictates everyone agree with them, especially women. And I hope the men recognize the unequal safety of their pulpits… they don’t risk the death, mutilation, and rape threats women get as standard business practice just for speaking their opinions. And these threats silence us… we’re so scared to risk our safety, families, and businesses that we sit here mutely.
  • On men getting professional opportunities: In the professional realm where women are dominant, like quilting, men get more opportunities because they stand out. When white men are the minority, the white male privilege upends the usual paradigm of minorities NOT getting increased professional opportunities. As Viola Davis said in her beautiful Emmy acceptance speech, “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.” Women can’t get the exhibition opportunities that are not offered to them. What would happen if men asked the venue to stop making their exhibitions based on gender parity, and refused to participate unless the show was open to all? And venues: seek to make these shows of parity.
  • On the intersection of fine art and craft: The fine art world is also run by a white male establishment. When fine art engages craft, the first rules of engagement follow that traditional structure, one of white male power which marginalizes women and people of color, and pays them poorly. The Guerrillla Girls have been illuminating this disparity for years, most recently on Stephen Colbert’s show. We still need to keep fighting it.
  • On the title of the “No Girls Allowed” quilt exhibition coming up: Really? That title? I know this language was considered funny and cute in the 1940s with Spanky and Our Gang, but really? There is a LOT of language from that time we no longer consider acceptable. Why is this OK, and why is protesting about it not OK? The men might call their quilting group that (“But it’s tongue in cheek, it’s just a joke!”) but why on earth is the museum perpetuating it? We are not girls, we are women. (And as an aside, do we ever suffer for there not being a female word equivalent to “guy.” I made this art about that.)
  • On men writing what they think is the history of women in quilting: Do your research, dammit. Before you carpetbag in with your ideas, study our history, and use us as primary resources. And be very careful… your privilege as a man will make you blind to nuances that are daily freight for women. The same goes for women: as a white woman, I think it naively presumptuous to assume I understand half of what it means to be a woman of color in quilting.
  • On women being fairly compensated (compared to men): While the people doing the paying need to knock it off, women also need to step it up. We need to not wait politely to be handed our opportunities, but we need to go out there and ask for them, MAKE them, and negotiate to be paid well for them. We need to take a leaf out of Jennifer Lawrence’s book when she found out she was underpaid:

“When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early.”

  • On being nice women: We have been so cultured to play nice and fair. SO cultured. And we are losing ground because of it. Back to Jennifer Lawrence again (really, just go read the whole thing):

“But if I’m honest with myself, I would be lying if I didn’t say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight. I didn’t want to seem “difficult” or “spoiled.” At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being “difficult” or “spoiled.” This could be a young-person thing. It could be a personality thing. I’m sure it’s both. But this is an element of my personality that I’ve been working against for years, and based on the statistics, I don’t think I’m the only woman with this issue. Are we socially conditioned to behave this way? We’ve only been able to vote for what, 90 years? I’m seriously asking… Could there still be a lingering habit of trying to express our opinions in a certain way that doesn’t “offend” or “scare” men?

Absolutely YES, Ms. Lawrence. We are still tip-toeing.

We still have a long way to go. Women still need to do more for our own equality, and men need to help out by advocating for us, too. WE NEED TO KEEP HAVING THIS CONVERSATION until the points are no longer true.

I welcome your comments below. Especially if they’re not threatening.

11055, Hunter, FA14


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Judge and Jury

It occurs to me that offering a quick definition of judging vs jurying (in the arts and crafts) might be helpful!


  • A set of rules or criteria are set out, and the works are compared to these criteria.
  • Works accepted in a judging situation meet the criteria, and those that meet it best become the winners (if hierarchy is being determined).
  • In judged quilting, criteria can have to do with technique, or size, or mastery of an aspect of craftsmanship, or a group of these criteria. For example, Large Quilt/Machine Applique/Machine Quilting.
  • The show is often divided via these criteria into categories for purposes of determining winners.
  • Prizes are usually then awarded by category. There may be a judge’s choice award (each judge picks a favorite), and there is often a people’s choice award, chosen by the viewing public.
  • Sometimes the prize is a “purchase prize.” This means if the maker accepts the prize money, they must give up the quilt for the amount of the prize money. The AQS does this sometimes with the top winners, and those purchased quilts go into the AQS museum.
  • These events are best described as competitions.


  • One or more jurors set out a theme or idea, often with a paragraph or two of information to frame the idea. For a good example of this, read some of SAQA’s many themed exhibition descriptions for topics such as “Balancing Act” or “Earth Stories.”
  • The works chosen by the jury meet the theme or idea, and while good workmanship is obviously desirable, it doesn’t trump a great response to the theme.
  • There might be some size restrictions for exhibition purposes, but usually no segregation or categorization of the group based on size or technique.
  • There may be a juror’s choice award, but usually no others.
  • Purchasing is often more like a gallery. If the quilt is for sale, it will say so, and the organizers usually broker the sale, keeping a percentage of the proceeds.
  • These events are best described as exhibitions.

In Quilt Shows:

  • A jury often takes the first pass at the entries, eliminating works that don’t fit the overall intention or theme of the show. For instance, the Modern Quilt Guild no doubt kicked out anything that looked traditional by their criteria for QuiltCon.
  • This is usually done with the submitted images, not finished works, and it is unclear as to how much of the supporting documentation is read at the time.
  • Once the show collection is chosen and the quilts arrive, the jury then become judges, and determine the winners of the categories through examination of the actual quilts.

Nancy, a commenter from yesterday, and a judge in training pointed out this: “One thing that I think is easy to forget is that if you enter a “quilt” show, then your craft better be up to spec. If you enter an “art” show, then your art better be top notch. If you enter your piece in an “art quilt” category, then you’ve got to up to the challenge in both arenas.”

And my talented friend Gail added, “It seems that quilts are ‘juried into’ a show based on art, but ‘judged’ at the show based on craft.”


I hope this helps!


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Rejected from QuiltCon


I’ve been told I shouldn’t use such a harsh word on myself, but it certainly is a clear statement of facts: I offered one of my quilts to QuiltCon, and it was not accepted for display. Don’t worry, my self-esteem is still quite intact… I love the quilt I made, and no amount of quilt show rejection will change that!

I have not attended the last two QuiltCon shows, so my impressions of what got in is somewhat distorted by the limitation of what can be seen on social media. I will say that, while I saw some envelope-pushing work in the feeds, I saw an incredible amount of “been there, seen that.” I have wondered on more than one occasion if the displayed quilts were chosen more for their illustration of and adherence to the definitions of modern quilting (as put forth by the Modern Quilt Guild) than for being perhaps more challenging examples of where quilt-making is going in the moment. Really, how many wonky what-evers (set off-center in a solid background with matchstick quilting) should be displayed? We get it! Point made! Mind you, it is their party, so they do get to groom the guest list. I will be attending the show in Pasadena next month, and am looking forward to making an informed opinion or two about the works in person. And of course, I’ll be sharing those thoughts here!

Here’s my rejected entry:


Photography by Bill Volkening

I made this quilt top in 2014 as I was developing my Five Stars pattern, with not a thought in my head about sending it to competition. I had been playing for some time with the idea of nesting stars, and thought the complexity of nesting them offset was a modern way of looking at things. I chose the color palette because I love ORANGE and teal, and love them both when paired with gray. I chose batiks as I’ve worked with them for years, and love the texture they have over solids. While they are often dismissed in a modern guild or shop as “your mother’s fabric,” they are one of the most hand-made fabrics available to us, a quality that I believe important to contemporary social and ecological interests. And if I’m being candid, I liked the idea of challenging the modern structural ideas with some batiks.


Photography by Bill Volkening

Once the top was done, I was so happy with it that I was bouncing about the studio. I knew my utilitarian quilting skills would do it a terrible disservice, so I hired Nancy Stovall to take it to the next level, and couldn’t be more thrilled with the outcome. Truly, she leveled it up out of the park – it’s stunning. It was at that point that I thought, perhaps, I should show the quilt.

In general, quilt show competitions (not exhibitions – the distinction is important) bother me a bit. As a formally trained artist with an MFA, I find it frustrating that the usual criteria that separates the winner from the runners is craft. And for the record, I’m a HUGE proponent of attaining good craftsmanship; I just don’t think it’s the only thing to look at.

While I have no idea if the QuiltCon judges will be checking quilts for square and checking the binding miters to see if they are stitched (don’t laugh, I was critiqued about the lack of stitches in my miters some 20 years ago on a quilt that went to Paducah), the fact that such technical nit-picking seemed to outweigh artistry made me abandon competition years ago. I was tired of getting judges’ notes about my miters, and having no mention of my artistry, choice of colors, or my prowess with hand-dyeing my fabrics. I see us wanting our work to be considered ART, but then still approaching it like it’s CRAFT. It’s hard for Craft to ascend to Art when it’s judged less for the artistry than the craftsmanship. By these criteria, a Monet would be rejected because the paint was a bit thicker here than it was there.

I know… it’s a bit of a chewy conversation, but hey, I’m trained in thinking about art this way, and these are the thoughts I ponder in the wee hours. You can take the girl out of art school, but it’s hard to take the art school out of the girl!

Anyway! The quilt won’t be heading to QuiltCon, but no matter. Right now, it’s sharing the walls with other QC rejects at Modern Domestic here in Portland (and wow, am I thrilled to have my quilt seen with these works). Soon it will be home and back on my bed. Lucky me.

Oh, and I still don’t sew down my miters ;-p


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Ten Quilty Hopes for 2016

I’m not usually one for resolutions – I prefer to build habits when I notice I need them. Nor am I one for “my word of the year” choices – there are so many luscious words… how could I possible choose between them?! If I was forced to choose, it would probably be MAKE, but that’s more of a lifelong thing, not a yearly thing!

That said, I find myself predictably reflective as New Year approaches, and as I thought about what I would wish for YOU, dear friends, it turned into the following list:

  1. I hope you make yourself something this year. We spend SO much time making for others that we seldom keep a single thing. I hope you track down a pattern that you adore, and custom-make yourself something that will make you feel loved every time you see it.

    This one is for ME!

  2. I hope you take care of your power tool/sewing machine by changing the needle regularly. While you’re at it, keep it oiled and de-fuzzed, too.
  3. I hope you change the blade in your cutter regularly. If you need to lean into it harder, or the cutting sound is harsh (rather than a smooth “swish”) it’s time. Sometimes your blade grinds because it needs to be oiled. But most of the time it’s because it’s dull. The safety of your hands is worth it!
  4. I hope you learn something new. Take a class, watch a tutorial, or treat yourself to a new book – but try something that builds your skills. Bonus points for taking a class with a friend or two and sharing the day (and some chocolate) with them!
  5. I hope you help a newbie. We seasoned makers are the keepers of this craft, and it will survive if and because we pass it to the newcomers. Take time to be welcoming to the new quilters at your guild or store, and cheer on their projects, regardless of the seam allowances or color choices. Don’t perpetuate a mean girls club of snotty superiority… be an encouraging resource!
  6. I hope you make one thing for charity. It could be a small NICU quilt, or a knitted hat for a preemie. It could be a big, bright quilt for a kiddos camp. It could be a simple lap quilt for your local seniors outreach program. The recipients of these gifts are so very appreciative.
  7. I hope you have a fabric purge. Take an afternoon to work through your stash, and pull every last one of the “what was I thinking?” fabrics. Include threads and weird notions. Get your sewing friends to do the same, and have a swap. Send anything left over to Project Linus (who make charity quilts).
  8. I hope you abandon any project that doesn’t thrill you anymore. I know you have a few UFOs, and I know some of them are worth the effort to finish. I’m talking about the ones that aren’t. Sort through them, and let a few go (send them to Project Linus with your purged fabric). Make space for something new (see 1 and 4!)
  9. Now that you have more room in your studio, I hope you go shopping (perhaps for the new quilt you’ll be making for yourself!) Take the time to love your local quilt stores by spending a little money there. We NEED these stores for the survival of our industry, so take time to help them out with a purchase, and a kind smile. They might also enjoy some chocolate :-)
  10. I hope you take a moment to reflect on how special a talent it is to sew. The next time you sit at the machine, thread it, set up a 1/4 inch seam and get to sewing, take a moment to savor all you have learned, and all you command when you do this. Yep, it’s special.

Wishing you the best that a New Year can offer!



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WASWI – Raising your prices, not working for free, and a new Alliance

There have been some great discussions out on the interwebs, of late, covering some thoughts on pricing and working for free. These are definitely worth your time!

First: Karen McTavish on the Crafty Planner Podcast. At about minute 42, Sandi and Karen start discussing the pricing for long-arm services. Karen makes her version of the point I’m always trying to make: When you undercut yourself, you undercut EVERYONE. She believes that as you get better, you should raise your prices, then the new folks coming up behind you can earn a decent rate too. AMEN.

The rest of the podcast is great also, as Karen talks about her unlikely journey to being the Karen McTavish – and she’s a funny lady to boot!

Second: This WONDERFUL video shows how nuts it is to be asked to work for free in other industries outside of the arts. In two and a half very short minutes, the point is beautifully made, especially by the old chap in the restaurant! There are some great points about being a professional who gets paid for their time, and keeping ownership of one’s intellectual property.

Third: We have a new organization in town, The Craft Industry Alliance. Abby Glassenberg of While She Naps, and Kristin Link of Sew Mama Sew have joined forces to make an online community where craft industry professionals can discuss the details of how we do business, and get help from the wisdom of others. I have long thought that we needed some type of unofficial union in our industry so that fewer crappy contracts are offered to (or accepted by) my colleagues. I had no idea how to build such a thing, and am grateful that Abby and Kristin figured it out. It’s been running for a couple of months, and already there are some great reference articles and robust forum discussions going on. Brava, and thank you, ladies!

We Are $ew Worth It!

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