Tag Archives: quilting

Three truths

I chose this from a question Lewis Howes asks of the interviewees during his podcast.  It is asking what that persons “Three Truths” are.  I explain a bit better below.  

I often listen to Lewis’ podcasts when I am travelling. Lewis interviews all sorts of people in his “School of Greatness” podcasts.  I find they make me think.  I really enjoy hearing the stories of people who others tend to look up to, and what has inspired and driven those people to achieve what they have achieved.  One of the last questions during the interviews are about the “three truths”.  (Check it out – Lewis Howes School of Greatness). 

I think about what I think are three truths to what I would want imparted to people if everything I had completed/achieved up to this point was erased, and you had to describe three truths to impart to others before you were gone from the earth.  (I don’t think I have directly translated this question correctly, but I think you get the idea.)

The first truth- choose love.  Always choose love. I think this can be one of the hardest choices.  Choose to love yourself.  And choose to love others.  

Another truth-we grow up into adults that often are scared to play, or don’t take time to.  Choose to laugh and play.  I don’t know about you, but I often have a hard time allowing myself the time to do this.  Yet any time spent doing this is joyous.  

The last truth that I think about is what is the truth in my world.  The most important things that I do in life or that I value is not the titles that have been on my business cards.  It is the people in my life.  It is the times I have spent with those people ,and even the time I spend by myself.  What is really important to my well being.  

In quilting.  Wow. Three truths.  Press.  Take the time to press.  I have allowed this to become a zen time for me too, but press.  Some of that joy can come from your friends giving you a fun ironing board cover to expand your adventure or make yourself one from some fun fabric so you smile whenever you see it.  Ironing board covers

One of the other truths I think about is to ese some of that fabric you love.  I have lots of fabric that I think needs to age before I use it.  You may have some of that also.   It’s kind of like fine wine.  It becomes more special.  However some fabric is like bad wine you let age.  You open it up and wonder what ever possessed you to purchase it as you no longer love it. That doesn’t suit your tastes any more. 

You may love that particular print with its squiggles in a pretty blue.  Or that batik that makes you sigh. Make something fun for yourself with it. Like a fun pincushion that you giggle and your heart feels warmer when you use it.  There will be more amazing fabric that you will love too.  I just had a better idea.  Make something wonderful for someone you love.  You will be giving of yourself in more ways because of it. The recipient really gets a part of you for they now have a wonderful gift from you, with something you love in it.  Below are all fabrics I love. 

The third truth that I think about with respect to quilting is that you may not love the whole process, but the most important thing is to try. And sometimes finishing something you have started can be satisfying in its own way (finished is warm).  You can choose to try to push your way through your least favourite part of the process (choose to love)  ha ha.  Or, you can do a swap with a friend by doing something for them that they don’t enjoy (maybe blocking a quilt, helping with layout, helping cut out fabric) in exchange for them binding your quilt.  Or vice versa.  There is always cash quilting as well.  Paying someone to quilt those quilt tops for you that are sitting neatly stacked in your studio, waiting patiently for their turn to shine.  

If you absolutely can’t finish something you have started, then let it have wings and maybe donate it to a group or a recycle centre that it could be used in someone else’s project.  

These are all pretty simple truths.  What would your three truths be?  

Resolution Room

Resolution room. I call the room that the yoga class I took on Thursday night and this morning “Resolution Room”.  It was a great class.  Very full class.  Full of New Years resolutions being fulfilled.  Some of us that have gone to yoga for years. I wouldn’t say I am hard core consistent but I have been practicing yoga for decades.  I appreciated a friend inviting me to the classes in the past few days.

The instructor was great. It was a good class, and I came home and slept well after Thursday’s class. I was glad I went. I was thinking about what it would take to keep those resolutions that starting to gain some form more permanent. What kind of support do people need to help them?  

I will never say that all resolutions should be maintained.  There are many that probably shouldn’t. There are many that probably should, (doing things to improve your health are usually good things). 

One of the great things I learned about the classes I went to in the past few days – I have been doing this for so long that I can actually not just touch my toes but place my palms on the floor!   That’s an achievement for me.  My balance is still off which means that some of my balance in life is still off. Fixing that. And it varies with each class.  But all in all, it has been off for a couple of years.  I’m not exaggerating.  My yoga balance has been off for quite a long time.  

My studio is not going to be my resolution room. It can be my sanctuary.  It is a place that has things I love in it.  I look at the operative word which is “things”.  It is stuff I can live without.  But stuff that I do find joy in using to create other things. I look at some of my studio treasures to find some joy at times when I am feeling the weight of other things that I am not letting go of. 

That was a couple of pictures from my studio.  I have a project going on right now that is part of a challenge so I can’t share pictures of it.  But, it is nice to go down and have everything set up, and I can pick up where I left off.  I do love having a studio.  

Do I have resolutions about it?  Probably a few – in regards to my projects.  I need to get a few more UFO’s completed this year.  In regards to the room – I don’t necessarily have resolutions about it.  

If I think about balance within my studio – I think I’m getting there.  I definitely have a lot of things better organized which makes me happy.  I was looking at my patterns, and notice that I can probably give away a few that I will definitely not be doing.  

I do visit my sanctuary very often.  I will continue spending time there – not because of any resolutions, but because it gives me joy, and is a part of the fibre of my life.  

The “Resolution Room” of the yoga studio – I will be visiting again in the future.  After about the middle of February, it is no longer a place where resolutions are given life, but a place where intentions are made and I would hope that an individual’s yoga practice has become part of their life’s routine.  Yoga has been a part of my life for a very long time, and will continue to be part of it.  

What does your “Resolution Room” look like?  Will you continue to visit once life starts throwing in curve balls?  I hope you do. 

Clarity

It’s a good word.  Clarity.  Something we strive for.  Something I need to have as part of my artists voice.  I’m struggling with it a bit.  (Not the same struggles that I have with autocorrect,  or Fat Finger Syndrome (that’s what I call some grevious mistakes made while texting because your fingers get in the way).)

I know as an artist that it is important to have a voice.  Figure out your style.  It doesn’t mean it can’t evolve and change, but your body of work should be recognizable as yours.  Another way of identifying you.

I had posted over a year ago about my artists voice. I’m still challenged with it.  That means I haven’t been putting the work in.  But, I’m getting closer.  I’m trying to put more of the work in. And, even just me admitting that colours and their playfulness, their interaction, their ability to evoke reactions is why I love colour.  Now to translate that into my work so others can feel that is what I’m trying to project and communicate with it.

I think of a few famous artists – Van Gogh, Georgie O’Keeffe, Monet, Sting, Ruth McDowell, Carol Bryer Fallert-Gentry all have recognizable artist voices.  (I have included a couple of quilt artists in this mix and is by no means a comprehensive list and I welcome you to share other artists who you may admire /appreciate.)  They all have a clear artists voice.

I myself am having a hard time choosing a clear direction.  If I had to choose one thing that identifies things I love it is bright colour.  I am attracted to rich and bright colours.  One look at my fabric stash confirms it.  I have long been enamoured with brightly colours paints, markers, dyes, any kind of artist medium.  When I dye clothing and fabrics, I want them to be bright and cheerful. The colours – range, richness, energy – makes my heart sing.

I am stumped in translating that love of colour into my own voice as an artist .  How do I interpret that so moving forward  my work  is consistent.

So back to clarity.  Trying to find it. Is your voice then only one component of your art?   There is also execution, materials,  content. You need all of the components to give your art its inherent depth.   You need the “blood sweat and tears” to give it soul.  Your voice helps give consistency to that soul.

Sharing with you part of my journey. I have attached a picture of some fabrics I pulled for a project. Yup, I proved it again.  I love bright colours.

Made it through Blue Monday

A new year, a fresh perspective, a looking forward to what’s ahead.

I did a bit of reflection at the end of 2015.  I also looked at what I want my life to look like in 2016.  Good things ahead.  Always some challenges too, as my car is deciding to start needing more care.  My bathroom faucet is leaking a bit.  My oven element is going to go (has that bright spot on it… I’m just waiting for that to happen).  Just a few minor things that we all have to deal with at one point or another.

I am choosing to enjoy the challenges of those little things I am having to deal with (like cleaning up water from trying to fix the faucet).

I can say that I finally finished a belated Christmas/Birthday gift for a dear friend of mine.  I’ll post some more pictures, but I have a few process pictures that I will share below.  I’ll try to take more pictures before I get it mailed off (I just remembered this morning that I had it all packed up and ready to mail, and I forgot to put a label on it.

This quilt “Oh Canada” has definitely been a labour of love.  The recipient is a very dear friend (sister from another mother) who shares my love of quilting.  She saw me working on it when we met at a quilt retreat in Colorado in August.  She has heard some of the stories, and I teased her with pictures along the way.  I was really happy with the binding (I  will share a picture of that next time) and overall, my quilting.  I didn’t count the hours.  The precision of the pattern (it was a Deb Tucker “Northern Neighbours” pattern) was worth the time spent.  I really was happy in how 95% of my points were nice and share.  The human element is present, so I cannot say it was 100%.  But, the effect and result was worth it.  I’ll take a few more pictures, and give you some more info next time.

And, to start the year off, I redid some of the words from my last posting of my poem.

Sleepy Sheep

  • One sheep, white sheep, looking for the gate
  • Two sheep, black sheep, trying hard to wait
  • Three sheep, red sheep, lagging far behind
  • Four sheep, green sheep, starting to unwind
  • Five sheep, purple sheep, full of smiles and sass
  • Six sheep, pink sheep, nibbling at the grass
  • Seven sheep, blue sheep, sad and standing still
  • Eight sheep, orange sheep, sitting on the hill
  • Nine sheep, yellow sheep, yawning at their plight
  • Ten sheep, rainbow sheep, wanting rest tonight
  • All sheep, tired sheep, need to go to bed
  • Sleepy sheep, cuddly sheep, laying down their heads.

May your 2016 be filled with adventure, wonder, laughter, joy, tears and balance.

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Details from my quilting – the lyrics to “Oh Canada”
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Overall view of the quilt top
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Some detail of quilt top

Being present

This is a fun little quilt top that I created from leftovers from making several Aunties Two Bali Bags, and using my leftover corners for half square triangles.  :-)
This is a fun little quilt top that I created from leftovers from making several Aunties Two Bali Bags, and using my leftover corners for half square triangles. 🙂

I have been making a conscious effort to give myself permission to quilt more, to spend more time with people that quilt, and to spend more time with people that help “fill my well”.

THis is coming about for several reasons, the most significant one is that I want to be more “present”.  (I read something once that in being more present, you get your ego to take a backseat.)  I am generally a planner by nature – in my head at least – I plan how my day will go (and this can go askew, but it is a starting point).  If I am using a commercial quilt pattern to satisfy my quilting urges, I go through the directions, and quite often will “assembly line” this – I will do all of the cutting at first.  I then will often piece several different blocks, at once, and then do a group pressing, then back to the sewing machine, etc.  I rarely will try to complete one complete block at a time, but as a rule, am willing to wait to see the results.  And, in doing this planning, I am working towards my finished goal.  Am I necessarily “present” while I am doing all of the steps to the finished blocks?  Hmm- good question.  I tend to think I let my mind wander…..

I was speaking with a friend of mine yesterday, and encouraging her to take some time in her crazy schedule to see more of her new niece.  In essence, I was trying to tell myself more than anything that I need to spend more time with the people that matter.  To enjoy the moment here and now.

And, I am lucky that in many cases, the people that matter to me enjoy quilting or enjoy if I share my work, my process, my inspiration, or in general are amazing support systems, and have been throughout my life.

I spent a weekend in Vermilion this month, where the guild members of Vermilion’s quilt guild are amazingly welcoming.  I have known several of its members for years, and am so lucky that one member is always willing to let me bunk at her house when their guild has a “Quilt Till You Wilt” weekend.  It helps fill my well of creativity when I am surrounded by similar souls, and I can see their amazing work unfold through the weekend.

At the beginning of April, my mom came up to Edmonton and joined me for a Ricky Tims day of lectures and an evening concert.  My mom quilts too and I am hoping that she enjoyed the day, and the bit of the break from the farm, as much as I did.  And I think we both enjoyed being present and in the moment during Ricky’s stories, which were amazing.  (I will try to add links in later – please forgive me for not being good at this yet.)

on Easter weekend, I met my mom at the Red Deer Quilt Show, where she and a friend toured around the show with me.  I also met up with the Western Canadian SAQA Rep, who lent me SAQA Trunk Show F to share with fellow quilters in several venues.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Edmonton and District Quilt Guild meeting, where I shared this Trunk Show, as well as listened to a wonderful speaker as part of their evening program.

I have been actively filling up my well with wonderful inspiration, and support by quilty people.  And, when I am surrounded by fabric, and incredible designs, I have no choice but to be present and revel in the moment.

I wish everyone a chance to do some revelling of their own.  Be in the moment with something or someone you love.

Finding your voice

I was taking one of the classes through an Art Quilt Series that Cyndi Souder teaches, and in one of the classes, she discussed our voices.  What distinguishes us, what is our artistic voice.  

I have been brought back to this again and again many times.  I was very thankful while I was taking those classes from Cyndi, that I was able to explore different techniques, and the class exercises gave me an opportunity to expand and spread my art wings a little broader.

But I keep coming back to – what is my voice. When someone looks at my work, could they distinguish all of it as being part of the body of what encompasses my creations thus far?  

I often wonder – what do I want my work to speak on my behalf.  How is it reflective of who I am?  And, truthfully, because of the different techniques I have explored, who I am may be undiscernable at this point through these creations.

I keep trying to dig through what I want my work to show about who I am….  I like to be playful.  I like to have meaning to my work.  I want it to tell some sort of a story.  If there is a theme to my work – I want it to explore perhaps a little deeper into that.  I don’t expect that any of my work will ever be used in a philosophy class to further explore the meaning of life.  But I want it to reflect a part of my life at the time when I created it.

And, in thinking about this, I have realized something else.  That being able to be true to who you are, and have that apparent in your work as an artist is a scary thing.  Maybe I am finding comfort in that anonymyty I have in all sorts of different works masking what I truly want to be apparent as being my creation when someone looks at it. 

 Stay tuned…. time for some shedding of layers….  its going to be scary.  But I have some amazing teachers in front of me who have blazed a trail of authenticity and courage.

If i look at the selection of quilts below, all done for challenges, I don’t know if I would say that all of them were created by one person.  

How did you find your voice?  

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created for Art and Old Lace Challenge
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created for Power Suit Challenge
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created for Art and Old Lace challenge
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created for the Wicked Challenge but did not get sent in time.

Familiarity…..

I was asked about a month ago “Why do you watch movies over again that you have already watched?” I know that the question was meant in jest, but it also made me think. I find comfort in watching TV shows and movies that I have seen already. It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to watch something new, but sometimes I want that blanket of “I know what is going to happen” and that security in confidence in the outcome.

Now some of that – yes, it can be compared with several other activities in life. For myself – it happens in my yoga practice, and in my quilting endeavors.

One of the movies that I have watched several times over this past winter is called “New in Town.” It features Renée Zelweger and Harry Connick Jr. The “Cole’s Notes” version of the storyline is a Miami businesswoman coming to a small Minnesota town to manage the local manufacturing plant, and how she settles into that life. Total romantic comedy. I have seen it several times. I PVR’d it so I could watch it again. I will admit – not an Emmy award winning movie, nor did the ratings come back as a “must see” when the movie was out in the theatres. Part of the movie’s charm for me is the familiarity of a northern winter (the movie was actually filmed partially in Manitoba), and the small town feel. Everyone knows everyone else. It resembles in some way the small town that I grew up by, and went to school in.

Watching the movie is kind of like being enveloped by a familiar blanket. It also allows me to drift in and out of paying attention, and having something on in the background while I am focussing on a task.

I find this need for a “security blanket” at times. To me I compare it to going to a yoga class with a familiar instructor. You know the basic practice that the teacher will guide you through. I can lose myself to being present and just following the instruction provided. I don’t have to worry about what pose comes next. And, I know that it is for a specified duration, and it gives me reassurance.

I find the same thing in my quilting journey. I don’t often make a quilt pattern more than once. And, I oscillate between my own design and following another’s pattern. Following someone else’s instruction enables me to focus on my technique. I know that the path to quilt completion has been “somewhat” laid out for me within the instructions on the page laying before me. It is up to me how I really choose to execute, but I can kind of meander along the path at my own pace, knowing that any turns in the path will be guided along through the words and illustrations provided.

When I embark on the more challenging journey – that of designing and producing something of my own creation – I have many more decisions to make. And, most of them do not guarantee a successful outcome. I have done challenge quilts (one of which I am currently trying to get completed while working full time, and putting a number of other self-imposed obstacles in my path), I have designed quilts as a result of art class instruction, and have also produced originals as gifts and commissions. One thing is common – I put myself in a much more “uncomfortable” position of not knowing the exact path the end result will take. My zone of security is not available. The starting point can be ascertained, but what the finale will be is sometimes a little more “fuzzy around the edges”.

However, in undergoing the process of my own design, I actually end up expanding my area of contentment. I believe we each do this with each situation we enter not knowing the outcome – the result is we make it through with our wealth of experience a bit larger. Now maybe that is taking it a little too far in going from watching a movie that we have seen several times, and comparing it to the creative process, but I think there is a level of putting yourself out there that we all need to do to grow.

“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” C.S. Lewis

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