Welcome to my blog. I was inspired by the book, "Blogging for Bliss" by Tara Frey.

Welcome to my blog. I was inspired by the book, "Blogging for Bliss" by Tara Frey. My goal is to share a little about my life, and a lot about my longarm quilting business, Lone Tree Designs.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Uncomfortable Zones

A beautiful customer quilt that I just finished for Kathy.  I have quilted several of these butterflies.  This one is
my favorite.  Kathy has inspired to really take the challenge and make one of these beauties for myself!
     Comfort zones are so....well, comfortable!  Have you ever heard the saying, "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got."  (or something close to that)?  Well, in my world, the comfort zone is sacred!  I tend to get a bit anxious when things are not running along in the "what I've always done" vein.  Boring?  Maybe.  Relatively low stress?  Yes.
      The only area in my life where I dare to get out of my comfort zone, a little bit, is in the area of quilting.  I do try new patterns.  I take classes to learn new techniques.  I go to quilt shows, read books, scan mounds of magazines...all to learn new things.  I rarely make the same quilt twice.  Usually, I don't completely follow a pattern.  These can be uncomfortable zones to be in for some people, but I do find that challenging myself has made me a better quilter.
      My current projects are all working with pre-cut 10 inch and 5 inch squares.  I have used 2 1/2 inch pre-cuts quite a bit in the past, but haven't done a lot with the squares.  Recently, I was asked to give a presentation at a retreat (my first overnight retreat--also out of my comfort zone) on things to do with 10 inch squares.  It was a lot of fun finding ideas to share with my fellow retreat enthusiasts.  I am not going to share them here on the blog just yet because I don't want to spoil the fun for those attending the retreat, but I will definitely share them at a later time.
  In the meantime, I challenge myself, and all of you to do something a little bit uncomfortable in your quilting choices today...You never know, you might just end up making something that you absolutely love!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Must We Always Finish "Well"?

  It is so easy to start.  Isn't it?  We all have the best of intentions and the newness and excitement that comes from beginning something new.  However, we do not all manage to keep that sense of excitement until we finish.  Why is that, do you suppose?
  Whether it is a new exercise and diet program, a new found sense of faith, a New Year's resolution to "do more of _______" or "do less of _______"--we just seem to have trouble sticking with something to the bitter end.
  Quilting is no different, at least for me.  I started the quilt in this post nearly 7 years ago.  It isn't big...just about 64 X 72.  Why did it take me so long?  Well, for one thing, I lost the original thrill after I chose the fabrics and started to make umpteen little Thangles triangles.  For another, I didn't like the way it was supposed to be set on point because I ended up not liking the setting fabric I had chosen.  Finally, I got caught up in many, many other projects that took my time and attention.  So, why did I finally finish this quilt, which is called "Hide and Seek" because of all the little koi swimming through the fabrics and quilted into the quilting.  I finished it because I am trying to be better about finishing some of my older projects.  I added it to my list of 12 items (1 per month) that my friends in my Facebook quilting group have used as a challenge to each other to work on our projects.  I finished it because I was tired of looking at it sitting half done on a shelf.
  Guess what?  I like it!  I didn't set it on point.  I didn't use that setting fabric that I didn't like.  I finished it--not quickly, and maybe not even as well as I could have had I found a new setting fabric and put the blocks on point as the pattern suggested.  The points don't match up as well as they should because they were never meant to match up.  They were meant to be set apart by large squares of fabric where their points would not touch at all.  Is it finished "well"?--some might say, "no."  I say:   "Sometimes just finishing at all is enough."

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Quilt Police

  I found this cute doll pattern on Zebra Patterns website:  zebrapatterns.com/ and it brings up a topic for my musings...how do I feel about the "quilt police" otherwise known as judges as the county fair, state fair, quilt shows, etc.
  Well, here's the thing...I am not a person who wants to be competitive with my quilts.  I quilt for the pure enjoyment of doing it.  Having my quilt that I spent so much time, effort, and money creating judged by a stranger always makes me terribly nervous.  I am usually happy with my finished product and feel good about it...enter the "quilt police"--after being judged, I often  feel unhappy and not so good about my quilt. So, why do I bother entering my quilts?  It is the best way to have my work seen by a lot of people, and it is pretty cheap advertisement for my longarm business.
  Don't get me wrong.  There is always room for improvement and for constructive criticism; however, sometimes I feel like the judge is searching for something negative to explain why your quilt did not get an honor.  Even when I have received a ribbon or honor (which I have many times) I walk away feeling bad about the things that "needed improvement."  I have learned from those comments, but they do sting a bit.
  So, what is a sensitive quilter to do?  I have to tell myself that the judge is there to be my friend, to help me improve, and to offer encouragement for me to keep growing as a quilter.  I have to accept that my quilts, like all other areas of my life, can benefit from some constructive criticism.  I have to focus on the good comments and the improvements that I make each time I create something new.  Finally, I have to believe that a quilt show judge (not unlike the English teacher I used to be) is simply rendering an educated opinion--one that is subjective and given a different judge, or even a different day, might be totally different.
 Lesson--if you love your quilt, that's really what counts, but a few helpful comments can be a good thing.