The Slow Quilting Movement

May 11, 2016

Enjoy and Appreciate Your Surroundings

January 28, 2016

What happens when your blog post is long overdue? Quite simply, life!

Everyone agrees, without question, the joys of family and friends always takes precedence over all else. The family birthdays, anniversaries, visits from relatives living far away, visits from friends old and new and picnics on a beautiful day.

Our grandson; the joys of watching him grow: baseball and soccer games, school programs and spending time together fishing, picking wild blueberries, walking the beach, a walk in the woods and priceless time together, not wanting to miss a minute as he grows up all too quickly.

And then there is the world around us. If you follow my Facebook posts, you know my love of nature. I am delighted to spend a few minutes watching a sunrise or sunset as the colors evolve from ho-hum to spectacular and then disappear so quickly. What a way to start the day when treated to so many brilliant colors in a sunrise.

At first glance, the trees are green, a flower may be red, the lake blue, the clouds white or dark. Take another look. There are so many shades of green tree buds in the spring, the colors of the flowers, the changing colors of Lake Superior, big puffy clouds, dark storm clouds, drips of rain in the puddles, the sparkling of the leaves as they blow in the wind and catch the light and, of course, the fall colors.

While the desire to write a regular blog calls, everyday life seems to have a stronger tug on my time and I easily get lost in the moment.

“Take time to smell the roses” says so much more!

I delight in the iridescence of the blue morning glories and the glowing yellow of the Ozark sun drop; each of these blossoms only lasting a day. The scent of the phlox blossoms is so sweet and yet subtle.

Have you ever watched a bird having the time of his life taking a bath in a fresh rain puddle? How about the way the seagulls can catch the winds to either soar or nearly stand still like a helicopter. And those hummingbirds zooming about with pinpoint accuracy!
I’ve been privileged to watch a chipmunk enjoying a feast of wild blueberries, sitting quietly at the edge of the highway watching and listening as a mother bear and cub rejoin after being separated while crossing the road, families of ducks and geese swimming along the shore, baby loons hitching a ride on mom’s back, pileated woodpeckers creating giant holes in dead trees looking for food, listening to the songs of the birds as they call to each other, watching how a spider builds and then mends its web on the outside of the window, flocking birds in the fall taking a rest on a wire and the comedy resulting when one more tries to squeeze in.

I like to explore the patterns of frost and rain on the windows and watch giant snowflakes as they float gently to the ground and look for the rainbows when the sun pops out during a rain shower.

My life experiences are a big influence on my needle arts in my choices of colors, selection of patterns, reflecting on experiences as I stitch and even taking my stitching outside to listen to the birds sing, the wind blow thru the trees and feeling the warmth of the sunshine on an early spring or a late fall day. My stitching and my experiences with nature do not conflict, but rather complement each other.

While you haven’t heard from me in a while, I have been very busy. I hope this inspires you to enjoy and appreciate your surroundings. As for me, I may be out chasing butterflies or snowflakes, depending on the season! My next project will include the colors I see or be a butterfly or snowflake quilted project!

What a wondrous world! Be sure to take the time to “smell the roses”!

Don’t Let Procrastination Rob You

April 21, 2015

I have been spring cleaning.I was in the mood and seized the moment! Sometimes no matter what needs to be done, you need to act on the urge to tidy things up. The urge to clean doesn’t happen often!

Like many of you, I have some things that I promised myself I would get to “someday”. I just couldn’t part with these things; up until now! I realized my tastes have changed. I have some things that just don’t excite me like they once did.

We all pass up the new and exciting because we feel guilty about the things not done.You know what happens, you have some time to stitch, go to your collection of supplies and those “ghosts” haunt you.You procrastinate because you don’t want to stitch on something that your heart is just not really into anymore, but you feel you shouldn’t start something new.Undecided, you pass up on the opportunity to stitch and find something else to do and the “ghosts” accumulate and continue to haunt.I decided to stop letting the “ghosts” hold me back.This procrastination robs us of valuable and enjoyable stitching time!

I gave away the things that no longer interest me.There is nothing wrong with our valued treasures; that’s what makes it so hard!We all have different tastes and there is no doubt that these items will be a treasure to someone else.Give them away!Have a swap!There are groups and individuals who make quilts, knit or crochet hats, prayer shawls and baby items.Take those items off your shelves and give them to those who will use them to benefit and comfort others.Give supplies to someone who wants to learn a needle art and help them learn.We all know how much joy we get from stitching.Share to make anothers’ life more relaxed and enjoyable.

Now that I’ve cleaned things up, I feel free to explore the new and exciting and am motivated again.It has given me a totally new outlook. I love going to my “playroom” and having the freedom to choose something really special.

Sort, give away; make others happy.Now you have the time to enjoy the things that really excite you!

You Are Not Alone

February 6, 2015

It happened again today. I have been sewing for over fifty years and yet every once in while I still sew two pieces of fabric together with a right side facing a wrong side. How does that happen? Even though I know better, a couple of weeks ago, I failed to check the location of the seam of a quilt binding before sewing it to a quilt to make sure that seam didn’t become perfectly placed at the mitered corner of the quilt. The result; not only one seam at a corner, but a seam at two corners!

I experience similar adventures with other needle art stitching. I have been knitting for nearly as long as I have been sewing and yet, when knitting a sweater, somehow missed a very important sentence which instructed me to work a special stitch along the front edge of a sweater. The entire front was completed before this sentence “suddenly appeared” in the instructions! Sometimes an embroidery stitch seams to go astray, your thread knots or you sew thru your thread. All techniques that would be quite impossible if they were supposed to part of your design.

As the saying goes; we learn by our mistakes. I have learned a lot! Admittedly, that is not to say that I still don’t repeat some of those same mistakes over and over. However, I am becoming very good at correcting them. I think being proficient in what we do is not necessarily doing it perfectly the first time, but rather how to correct the mistakes when we make them. And, we will make mistakes.

The next question becomes how many mistakes do we correct and how perfect do we try to make our project. We all have different visions of perfection. There will always be someone who tries to make you conform to their ideas of perfection. Correct what you can’t live with, accept the imperfections that are minor to you, move on, and most importantly have fun.

I can help you with trying to avoid the most common mistakes. I can definitely help you with how to correct your mistakes. Don’t be discouraged by your errors. You are in very good company! Seam rippers are one of our top selling notions and I never knit without my tool for picking up dropped stitches close at hand. As for embroidery thread tangles, I have learned how to undo most of them. If that fails, I can show you how to cut the thread and secure even the shortest end!

Don’t let the fear of making mistakes hold you back. Look at them as a challenge; conquering a mistake is quite rewarding. Keep on stitching, learning and having fun!

Nearly Finished Projects

December 9, 2014

I have been intending to write a new blog entry since September. How did we get to December already? I’ve had several thoughts; but nothing seemed to materialize. I just wasn’t able to create something worthy to share.

Unfinished projects saved me! I have recently decided that having unfinished projects are a good thing. I had several small projects that were set aside when other things had to be moved to the top of the list. These became “the someday when I have time” projects. As the restrictions of time diminished, there was time to return to these things I had been wanting to do. But then I didn’t know where to start! It seems so easy when we are busy to say “I can’t wait until I have time to do this”. Why is it so hard to pick something and get started?

I’ve experience this dilemma before. I’ve learned not to waste time fretting over what to do first. I usually have a knitting project that is close at hand and easy to pick up. Quite often it is a pair of socks or two. It is a good place to start; I can practically knit socks in my sleep. Knitting gives my mind a chance to calm down and sort things out while I am completing one of those “someday” projects.

Usually one small project is all it takes. This time it took several; I had really lost my way! Which I guess explains why you haven’t heard from me before now.

After completing two socks, two scarves, (each only needing a few rows), adding the finishing touches to the pattern for the scarves and knitting a new pair of mittens, my mind is now ready to make decisions. OK, now I am motivated and ready to go! My unfinished projects were a real blessing, not a burden!

Don’t look at your unfinished projects as a burden or let them drag you down. Call them nearly finished and don’t feel guilty about having them. Remember, you are saving them for a reason. They have a purpose and will serve you well. You are saving them for the day when you need the psychological boost of tying up loose ends and starting over. Completing a small project or two will bring you back on track and enable you to focus. It is a matter of perspective and the power of positive thinking. Having nearly finished projects on hand is a good thing!

Life seems to be full of busy times and events that throw us off track. Thank goodness we have these nearly finished projects of something we love to do to rely on in such emergencies.

Now you know where I’ve been, what I’ve been up to, how I got back and hopefully I’ll be in touch more frequently. But if the need arises, I do have more nearly finished projects ready to rescue me just in case!

The holidays are a busy time; sometimes it is hard to refocus when they are over. Start or save a nearly finished project for January!

What’s new?

May 23, 2014

It is a question that adults ask daily if not several times in a day. It is proof that we as humans are always in search of a challenge even if we don’t know what it is.

When the “what’s new” question is answered, it is interesting what we do with our new information. We determine what is trivial and really doesn’t merit more investigation. Other topics peak our curiosity and we investigate further. Other times, we are interested, but for a variety of reasons we abandon further pursuit. It could be we are busy; time is limited and unfortunately we have to make choices.

Trying something new in the needle arts world can require some perseverance, some patience and practice. It is easy to fall into a rut and decide it is just not worth the effort to try something new. I hate to admit that I have been guilty of being in that rut a time or two.  It seems the easier route to take, but the shortfall is that it gets boring and cheats us of the wonderful sense of accomplishment and self confidence.

Over the past few months, I have been trying to conquer the challenges that my computers seem to delight in throwing at me. At times, I just  wasn’t sure I was up to it. There is no give and take with a computer; you can’t ask it questions and it won’t negotiate. You must conform to its ways.

At the same time, I really wanted to make the most of my new embroidery machine. It is capable of so many terrific things if I take the time to explore and learn what it can do for me. I began to realize that what I was learning from the embroidery machine was helping with the computer and vice versa. A glimmer of hope!

It didn’t happen overnight, but with the help of patient friends, business colleagues and lots of practice, I can now take advantage of the benefits of what technology can do for me. It has been a long time since I have found myself in such a challenging position and I was determined not to let it get the best of me. I did it, I wanted to learn more and now, am more confident that I can!

It reminds me of something I hadn’t thought of in quite some time. When  I was young and following the space program, there was an experiment on the spacecraft that really struck me. One scientific test was to see what ants would do in the weightlessness of space. They found that when the ants had nothing to do; no tunnels to build because gravity wasn’t working against them, they died. When you look at all of life on earth, humans are the only ones who have evolved into really not having to work beyond money to survive. All other living things have to hunt daily for food, find shelter and run from predators. Life just isn’t supposed to be that easy!

These two observations lead me to believe that we need challenges to make us happy and thrive. That is why it is in our nature to ask “what’s new” and why we need to take action. I think it is why we ask “what’s new” more as we get older; we are searching for that next challenge.

The next time you ask “what’s new”, pick a challenge and get started at learning something entirely new that will take some effort. You don’t have to go it alone! Take classes, get some help and follow through. It is self perpetuating because it makes you feel good, builds your confidence and encourages you to learn more.

Through the Eyes of a Child

April 11, 2014

Adults can learn so much from watching children grow and explore the world. It is a mutually rewarding relationship. Adults teach children the skills they need to thrive in the world. Children remind us of the simplest joys of life when we take the time to notice and appreciate what we see.

I love watching the sheer delight of a child discovering raindrops, chasing a butterfly, watching birds fly, following a bug, seeing their first rainbow. The list can go on and on. It is the heart of the meaning of seeing the world though a child’s eye that keeps us young at heart.

Learning is vital to our being. Whatever your age, there is always something to be explored and knowledge to gain. Somewhere too many of us have lost that hunger for discovery. Life experiences can do that to us as we grow older and get busier in doing adult things.

Nature combines all colors, hues and shades beautifully. Take the time to really look at what you are seeing. Look at a brilliant sunrise or sunset created by the combination of pinks, oranges and purples. How many times have you rejected that very same color combination as “not going together” while at the same time you are in awe of such a view.

Spring is just around the corner, notice how many different colors of greens you see as the new leaves burst forth from the trees. A flower isn’t just red, purple or yellow; it is a beautiful combination of colors. We describe objects in single colors as if limiting ourselves to the eight colors in the smallest box of Crayola crayons. Crayola now offers boxes of crayons containing 152 different colors, thread and floss colors are now available in over 400 colors. Fabric and yarn colors are limitless.

Use the colors of nature as inspiration for color combinations in your needle art creations. Look at everything thru the eyes of a child without the preconceived restrictions of adulthood. It takes time to retrain yourself to stop and really look at what you are seeing. Rediscover your inner child; it keeps you young at heart and you will find joy in each and every day! It is all free for those who take the time to see and enjoy it!

Olympic Skills in the Needle Arts

March 11, 2014

Did you watch the 2014 Winter Olympics?  The skaters seem to glide over the ice so effortlessly, the skiers weave their way through the downhill course like ribbons cascading in the wind, and we watch the snowboarders sail up and down the icy walls of their event in amazement. They make it look so easy that we forget all the hours, weeks and years of preparation to qualify for the Winter Olympics. Only when we  see them gasping for breath at the end of their events, do we then realize how much effort they are putting into their performances.

These professionals obviously love what they have practiced for years. We admire their performances; they make it look like so much fun that we want to try it for ourselves. We can enjoy the sports even though we know that we will never achieve their same level of skill. We are encouraged by their skills rather than being discouraged by them. We need to remind ourselves that they are the best of the best.

The same can be said of quilting, knitting, crocheting, embroidery or whatever you enjoy or are dreaming of trying. Challenging ourselves is what keeps us interested in what we are doing. Did you notice how the Olympians continue to try to better their personal times? Once something is no longer challenging, we abandon it, or give up too easily saying we can’t accomplish perfection.  The needle arts are no different than any other activity. We can’t expect to try it once with perfect results any more than we would put on a pair of skis and zoom down the course at 60-70 miles per hour on the first try. Instead we start on the smallest hill and work our way up.

To enjoy and perfect your needle art skills, take classes, practice and give yourself a chance to grow and nurture your skills. You don’t have to become a professional to enjoy what you do and take pride in your accomplishments. We tend to be too critical of ourselves and it gets in the way of the enjoyment. Learning something new is so invigorating and encourages us to move forward.

Learn, practice, enjoy and take pride. It is so worth the effort!  Village Fabrics and Crafts offers classes, seminars, and techniques to advance your skills on a monthly basis.  Check our class schedule regularly  and join others in advancing your skills while enhancing your enjoyment of needle arts.

Why Needle Arts?

March 1, 2014

Why do you knit, sew, quilt, crochet, embroider, needlepoint? In the past these skills were performed out of necessity to keep warm and to commemorate special events such as weddings and births. Quilting bees and guilds provided companionship and the opportunity to share the skills and pass them on to future generations.

Needle arts would not be where they are today without the immense knowledge that has been passed from generation to generation. How lucky we are that our mothers, sisters, aunts, friends, acquaintances and even strangers have taken the time to share and teach each other to keep the skills alive and thriving.

Why? It brings us such great joy in so many ways and we want to share that joy!

We open our hearts and make things for new babies, weddings, birthdays, Christmas, “just because” and to aid and comfort those who need a little help in today’s world. We enjoy the process, the creativity, the sense of accomplishment, the learning and the giving. While methods, tools, fabrics, yarns, threads, guilds and clubs have all evolved, the heart of the needle artist remains the same.  We continue to share with each other and to teach each other.

We need to be sure to include the children so that future generations will not be denied all the joys that the needle arts bring to our lives.  It connects our pasts and our futures. If you are fortunate enough to have stitched with someone special when your were a child, think of the wonderful memories you have of those experiences and your treasured hand stitched heirlooms items that were created by someone you love. While you are stitching, how many times do these memories surface and bring a smile? Create those kind of treasured memories for the children in your lives. Create the heirloom items that they will treasure forever.

Continue to learn, take classes, refresh your skills and pass them on!

End of Bolt Sale

March 21, 2013

We were strolling down the fabric shelves the past few days and discovered there are lots of bolts with 5 or less yards remaining. The cardboard takes up more space than the fabrics! Lots of new fabrics will start arriving soon; we need to make room! It is time for an end of bolt sale!

This sale will start Saturday, March 23 at 10am and continue thru Saturday March 30! To make your shopping quick, convenient and easy, we have taken these fabrics off the boards, measured and discounted them by at least 40%!

Choose from flannels, cottons and batiks in a very wide range of colors and prints perfect for any sewing or quilting project. Many pieces are large enough for backings, borders, bindings and even main colors for piecing. Have you seen pieced backs? They are great, too! Check your gift list for upcoming holidays and celebrations. With this wide selection, you are sure to find just what you need!

This is a once a year sale – don’t miss out! See you soon!