Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Variations on a theme...and no apologies

I grew up listening to classical music. I think the best composer ever was Sergei Rachmaninoff and the best thing ever composed is Variations on a Theme by Paganini. Paganini wrote something called Caprice No. 24 in A minor, probably his most well-known composition. Rachmaninoff then wrote twenty-four variations on this theme, probably the most well known of which is Variation 18.
Why I am telling you all this?

Well, because there has been a lot of talk recently about the "dumbing down" of quilting. I'm not going to link to any of the original posts, but last week both Jennifer of That Girl, That Quilt and Rachel of Stitched in Color had very interesting posts, and it led to a lot of introspection on my part.

Questions like why do I quilt? Why do I blog about it? And why am I letting anyone I haven't even met make the decisions on what is appropriate or inappropriate for my personal quilting journey?

Case in point. I frequently go through my fabric stash. I came across this piece of fabric and my first thought was "I should probably put this in the donation pile because a 'modern' quilter would never put this in a quilt." I stopped myself right there and thought, "But I still like this fabric. And why do I even care whether or not someone else would put it in a quilt?"

Quilting has gotten me through the loss of a my first grandchild six years ago and the loss of one of my best friends last year. 
(a "family tree" quilt with signature of parents, grandparents and great-grandparents made for our first grandchild)
It has sustained me through times when I needed to be alone, and it has cheered me up when I have been surrounded by my quilting friends.

When I think of the debate between modern and traditional, between acceptable levels of creativity and "dumbing down," it just makes me sad. And two phrases keep going through my mind: If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all, and can't we all just get along?

Everything comes and goes in cycles. It's like that in every aspect of art. There are new ways of interpretation, new methods, new supplies at our fingertips. But when you think about it honestly, there are very few things that are actually original. Nearly everything is just a "variation on a theme."

One of my first quilts was this kaleidoscope quilt. I "borrowed" it from a little 3-inch picture in a quilting magazine.
This is my newest variation on a kaleidoscope theme. It will have narrow sashing between each block (not sure what color yet--I was just had this blue strip handy) and the Kona snow should form a secondary pattern.

It's a combination of a quilt I saw in a quilting magazine from 2004
(from QNM, 9/2004, "Sashed Batik Kaleidoscope" by Addy Harkavy and Sandi McCann)
and the "stashbuster" block from Material Obsession 2.

I'm not the person who designed the kaleidoscope block, nor was the designer of the 2004 quilt or even Kathy Doughty. But good for all of us to come up with our own unique variations.

So my point (and I do have one) is that we should never have to apologize to ourselves or anyone else for what we create.  And we should be kind and considerate when viewing what someone else has created. Because most of it is just another variation on a theme.

Things I'm not apologizing for:

*Not being able to complete a quilt in a week...or a month. I'm doing everything at my own pace and I'll be okay with that.

*Not participating in any more quilt block swaps after my current quarter of 3x6 swap is completed. I will have 12 orange, grey and white blocks by then. I already have six that I'm really happy with,
but I have a lot of ideas in my head and I don't want to be distracted by time obligations.

*Still really liking Sherbet Pips,even though due to the blogging frenzy before it was available, I preordered, forgot how much I preordered, and over-purchased (see below).

*Still loving the first pattern I designed and published, Charm Parade. At times, it seems that nearly everyone (but me...) makes a certain quilt once, and then never wants to make it again. So far I have made this quilt at least seven times, each one a little different from the others.
I still have more variations I want to try. For example, what would it look like done in all solids? I won't know until I try it. Who knows? Maybe I'll be like Rachmaninoff and make 24 variations of this theme.

*For loving Flea Market Fancy and paying some outrageous prices to add it to my stash.

*For being glad I'm in the Single Girl Quiltalong because I've learned a lot, from making way too many templates to increasing my skill at curved piecing.

*Keeping my stash of batiks (gasp) because they are bright. And I like them.

*Keeping that weird piece of green fabric. I may never use it. But then again, it might be the perfect fabric in some yet-to-be-designed quilt.

*For finding inspiration from the many quilters who are generous with their ideas, designs, where they find their inspiration, and are willing to share it with others.
*Writing my blog the way I want to write it and not comparing myself with anyone else (which isn't always easy). Many times I have said I write, but I'm not a writer. Whatever. Turns out I enjoy documenting my quilting journey, along with a few other things along the way. And I hope you'll be along for the ride because you want to be, not just because you want to win a giveaway (see below).

What? You're still here?

Well, then... I love Charm Parade. I  have three charm packs of Sherbet Pips, and I only need one for the quilt I'm planning. Yeah, I know. Pre-ordering frenzy. For a copy of Charm Parade and two charm packs of Sherbet Pips, leave a comment  before Thursday at 6 p.m. PDT about whatever you feel like commenting
on--the weather, something that inspires you, a favorite color, a flower that poked through the snow. And if you are so done with Sherbet Pips, no apologies needed, we can substitute something else. I have lots of charm packs hanging around. And I'm not really feeling the need to apologize for the size of my stash...

Edited to add: The giveaway ended on 4/28/11.


05 08
Lisa said... #

Woo hoo love the no apologies! I have a fairly large stash (I guess it's all relative?) and I love every scrap! I don't overspend on anything else, I work hard for a living and I love my stash, and add to it regularly. I do make lots from it too I should add (although that sounds like an apology doesn't it!).

I've really enjoyed the debates going on across blogland at the moment and was very interested to read your contribution. I love your blog, I think your personality really comes across in your writing. I also really love your blog header - did you design it yourself?

I also love the Pips and think this is a great giveaway!

Asiyah said... #

This is all very interesting as I hadn't heard the dumbing down discussion. I probably won't delve into it because it sounds pretty divisive.

I recently went through a self-reflection on why I quilt and why I blog. It all comes down to this: "Is this honest?"

If you can't make a quilt and enjoy sharing it with others, why do it?

I love being creative and having my own little piece of the blog world...so I say "dowhatchalike"!

Leanne said... #

Great post! I just love quilting. I don't care what anyone else thinks. I always do MY best and appreciate the work that goes into everyones quilts. If they were all the same it would be boring.
As for the stash, mines a little large, but I love every piece of it.
Thanks for the generous giveaway!

Mary said... #

Great Post! I would also like a no apologies for age - young or not so young! A quilter is a quilter...everyone has something to bring to the table. Maybe I am a bit defensive because I don't think my generation is identified with a letter....if it is I don't know it nor do I care. Young or old or somewhere in between there is so much to share and learn! Thanks for the great post!

HeatherBC said... #

Thanks for the inspiration to NOT clear our my stash! You can never have too much fabric right? right? I love your quilts - thank you for sharing them!


Lindsey F. said... #

No apologies necessary. We are all unique individuals. That's what makes the world interesting. How boring it would be if we were all the same, quilted the same, and like the same things.

Anorina @SameliasMum said... #

"No apologies (no apology), we will not back down..." I read your title and started singing the Bon Jovi song... well the chorus anyways. Like you, I love bright fabrics, even if they're not modern or by well known designers.

Anne at Film and Thread said... #

What an interesting post. I read some of the dumbing down discussion and I don't think that you were the kind of quilter they were referring to at all. Your work has a lot more depth than that. The original kaleidoscope quilt is just stunning! I make some of the "dumbed down" quilts because they are fast and fun to make and I like the look of them. But, usually, it is the fabric that is the star in them and not some great sewing/quilting prowess.

Right now I'm making a modern houndstooth quilt. I was looking for examples and people are selling patterns for $6-7. It is the simplest thing on earth to sketch out and doesn't require a pattern. It amazes me that anyone other than a very first time sewer would pay for it. That is what the discussion meant to me - that it is easy to, perhaps, overvalue your work by just calling it "modern".

The bottom line for me is that I would probably do a lot less quilting and purchasing fabric if I was making a lot of time consuming, complicated quilts, so I'm not bothered by the label "dumbed down" being applied to certain quilts of mine. They are!

I'm breaking my usual "not entering the giveaway" because your pattern looks fun and I would love the Sherbet Pips : )

stitchinpenny said... #

I make what I enjoy and if I remember where I got the inspiration I tell people if not I just make it anyway. I make quilts for friends, family and charity so I don't think anyone cares. I just love making stuff.

Elizabeth Dackson said... #

Great post, Cindy, very well put. I like the honesty I always find when I come to your blog. If you look at all of the blogs I follow, they're each different and offer a different perspective on quilting, and that's what I enjoy so much about blogging and sharing quilting with the whole internet. I don't think an apology is needed at all! I love that kaleidoscope quilt you showed off, I can't even imagine the amount of technique involved in making that quilt. I can't even begin to imagine how truly boring it would be to read blogs that are all the same. There's room for all of us in the quilting world, as far as I'm concerned.

Laura said... #

I love batiks and polka dots and stripes. I am not interested in fabric just because of the designer's name. I like to mix all kinds of fabrics together. I like to see all kinds of quilts! Keep up the good work!

Amy Friend said... #

I create because I love to and need to. It makes me who I am. If people like what I do and read my blog, that is wonderful. If they don't, that's just fine too. Create for you!!

deserae said... #

I think it is great that you don't feel like apologizing! I love quilting, even if my quilts will never win any fabulous prizes. I love making them and people love recieving them. :)

Sunnybec said... #

Heck don't apologies for the size of your stash... I just wish I had one... but I am working on it LOL. Don't have any Sherbet Pips so this would be lovely. Thanks for the chance to win.

Michele said... #

Just found your blog-- am loving reading the "things you haven't said" thread.

I recently bought a Go cutter and am loving how easy it is to cut curved pieces. Am also hoping that with the notched triangles, I will be able to machine piece triangles with points that match.

pinsandneedles said... #

I love your insights...thanks for sharing. I too want to quilt what I want to with no apologies. It is hard not to compare as I read/surf other blogs/flickr for inspiration.

I love Sherbert Pips and totally not done with it. Thanks for a chance!

ktquilts said... #

Amen! When I thought that every quilt needed to be an heirloom, they never got done. Now that I quilt for the pleasure of it my family can snuggle in loving stitches! Sometimes I quilt because my brain wants to solve puzzles and be challenged. Then I pull out the comlex patterns. Sometimes I quilt because it is the only thing in my life that stays done! Quick finishes are such a blessing at those times. And you know what, they all are still unique quilts!!

Diane H said... #

I have sewed, crafted and used my imagination with my creations since I was a child - before the internet, designers and blogs told us how things 'should be done'. And I will continue to do so, like you, with no apologies. Thanks for such a wonderful post.

Jodi said... #

Bravo! My sentiments exactly! I write my blog for myself and no one else - but love to have comments and input from blogging friends. Who made ANYONE the know-it-all of quilting??? No one! It's all about expressing individual creativity, no rights or wrongs in my book! Okay, I'll get off my horse now :-) Thanks for the chance to win some beauties! (And my heart goes out to you in the loss of your first grandchild - yikes! and your friend! Ugh!) many hugs to you!

Kathryn said... #

I loved your thoughts in today's blog. I love reading blogs to see what ideas people have on color and design. They really do INSPIRE me - modern, traditional, kid-centered, all of them. So put me down as one of those inspired by all you bloggers of every shape and size. Kathie L in Allentown

two hippos said... #

I'm still working on repeating quilts -- not because I don't like what I've made but because there are so many things I want to make and I sort of feel bad by repeating and not branching out (this is all self-induced pressure, of course, and I realize that, but still...). And no apologies, we all have preferences. I'm not a Pips fan, but I do like your pattern! And I really like reading the candid posts that have sprouted of lately, no matter what they're about or if they implicate me. I think it's interesting to hear what people really think.

Unknown said... #

I actually feel very sad for the designer of Sherbet Pips. She's probably extremely disappointed, to say the least, to know what so many are saying about her new designs. I think it's pretty cute, and something a little different. Like I always tell my kids.....If you can't say something kind, keep your mouth shut! Everyone has feelings. Besides, if you don't like it, you don't have to buy it. Bashing someone else's art work is just mean.

Mrs Flying Blind... said... #
This comment has been removed by the author.
Regina said... #

What a great post. I'm so thankful that there are bloggers out there. Personally I started blogging just so I'd have a place to put my projects I do without criticism from friends/relatives who think I'm "wasting my time" and I love checking out other blogs both for inspiration and to remind me that I'm not alone. In my world I don't know many stay at home moms and very few people sew.

Mrs Flying Blind... said... #

I am loving all these 'confessions' that seem prolific in the blogs I follow - it must say something about me that I love to read the words of these specific folks who share their skills and more with the world!

As for the Pips - I love them, and although blogland seems to be 'over them' already, I actually know no-one in the real world who would have seen them online or in person!

Aneela (Hoey) is so lovely and genuine, I find it sad that she was built up to such a great height only to be a victim of the Moda marketing frenzy.

Thank you for this kind giveaway x

Anonymous said... #

Thank-you for being so articulate about what I've been thinking and feeling!! I really LIKE the person you are and it comes through so nicely on your blog. Miss Luella

Sadie said... #

Your post made me smile! A woman after my own heart. My house is filled with things that I am sure others think dated or out of fashion, but I love them, and so they stay. I don't think you should ever be made to feel that your tastes and likes are not okay, whether it is the wallpaper you hang on your walls or the colour your hair is or the type of hand towels you use or the fabric you use to make a quilt. Each to their own I say!

Jolene said... #

I love what you've written! You know what makes me happy? When a see a quilter, whether they're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, enjoying themselves. If they're loving what they're doing, then I honestly don't care one bit what their quilt looks like! I just want everyone to be as enthused about quilting as I am! (Maybe so I won't look quite so crazy!)

In the last year, many of the quilts I've made have soaked up tears as I sat there quilting them. I very much agree with you that quilting can be soothing for a hurting heart.

Andrea said... #

love all the debates and discussions that are spreading through blogs!

hope i win. :)

Staci said... #

Enjoyed your post today. I agree with your sentiments. Quilters should quilt what feels right at the moment, regardless of labels like traditional or modern, and use whatever fabrics seem right at the time. We shouldn't feel like we have to apologize for anything we make! I'm tired of the dumbing down discussion. Quilters should follow where ever the ideas take us!

Thanks for the giveaway!

Jennifer said... #

Great post. I really like your thoughts on not apologizing. So many people, and i think women in particular, often feel like they need to apoloogize for good fortune, opinions, choices, etc., and i feel the message of sewing and living without apologies is a great one.

I've really enjoyed all these discussions that have been going around lately. I feel like a lot of people are feeling safer and less intimidated. I know I've had a renewed energy to keep working on my first quilt.

Robin said... #

I'm gonna echo what everyone else has said: Great post! I have read a few of the posts out there on the current great debate. Definitely a lot of food for thought.

Good for you-- no apologies! :)

Carla said... #

Thanks, Cindy, for being so articulate! I was trying to express something similar to my hubby the other night after reading Jennifer's post....I know he was interested because his eyes were glazing over! I hate the exclusivity that is starting to show it's ugly head in the quilt world...wait 10years and see what "modern quilting" means! There is a time for every season...I make a lot of charity quilts at times and love doing cute
"dumbed down" patterns. I know that I'll never make a Baltimore appliqued quilt and I'm not bothered in the least! If I don't win your pattern, I'd love to buy one!!

Patti said... #

I love classical music! I also love rock music, and jazz. So fabric is the same for me. Sometimes I want green and sometimes I want batik! I am still stash building, so I never turn down the opportunity to add to it.
As a new quilter, I am eternally grateful to those who can design patterns, and are so generous to share their talent with those of us who don't have a designing bone in their body!! Thank you! I am happy there are so many variations out there to stretch myself when I feel the need. Wheew..that was long-winded!
Patti S.

Terriaw said... #

Can I admit to you that I really really dislike those quilting discussions going around blogland? Why do people need to debate what style is modern versus traditional, and which one is better? And why do people have to justify their fabric stash? Guys don't justify their stash of tools, artists don't justify their stash of paints, gardeners don't justify their obsession with the newest rose variety.

Why not just focus on being ourselves, challenging ourselves, make what we like, and connect with other like-minded people. Why not make what YOU like and not worry about how long it takes to finish or who might think it's too old-fashioned.

That said, I love ALL the projects you have in progress!

. said... #

I don't own any sherbet pips, haven't even seen it in person, but would love to win a charm pack. I have enjoyed this discussion on the blogs and really appreciate your blog. I too am making a single girl quilt and love how it has pushed me back to serious hands on basic quilt techniques with the templates and curved piecing. I think we get so caught up in producing pieced quilts quickly with rotary cutting etc. and lose some of the wonder of putting together beautiful fabrics piece by piece to achieve the beauty of each quilt. Anyway, thanks for the giveaway would love to win the pips charm pack and your pattern.

Rebecca said... #

Great list of no apologies! So many different quilters in so many different stages of life, and quilting for different reasons. And gaining inspiration from one another ~ LOVE IT.

Jennifer said... #

You always have such good insight! You know me and know that I don't apologize for my quilting LOL...

The dumbing down discussion still makes me sad and I am so glad to see more bloggers giving their input!

Jennifer :)

PS... don't enter me in the giveaway! I have a Pips Bakeshop project going right now and I'm swimming in the fabric. ;)

ParisMaddy said... #

Anne from Film and Thread told me about your blog. Thanks for entering me in your giveaway. I don't think I've seen that particular fabric yet but it's bright and perky.

Classical music, no pointless apologies, and a firm belief in what works for you. I can't see anything wrong with that.

I agree with your comments overall. I think most art IS a collaboration and we all learn from each other. As the world gets busier, and people listen less, it seems like everyone is trying to carve out a space for themselves. An identity.

Thanks for including me and thanks to Anne for sending me your way.

Jen said... #

Good points. I think the most important thing is to not put labels on ourselves. Just like you getting rid of the fabric because it didn't follow the label you embraced. Yet, you still liked the fabric. That's silly. You don't HAVE to put yourself in a camp. It's not Us vs. Them. We are just quilters, sharing what we love.

Thanks for the giveaway :)

Catskill Quilter said... #

Wow - first time that I read each and every comment, first to last! You have a great blog, and it pleases me that your voice always comes through! It is interesting to read differing viewpoints, but in the end we all have to follow what we ourselves love, while appreciating quilts that are not like ours. Your pattern is adorable -- funny, but I too find it challenging to see what other fabric choices do to a quilt design. What will it look like in solids? What would happen with batiks? What if I dug out all those tiny calico prints from the late 1970's? I love reading your blog. Keep expressing your thoughts!

~Michelle~ said... #

Don't apologize for the batiks! They aren't necessarily my cup of tea, but that's my prerogative...plus I do recognize the quality of batiks tends to be amazing! I suspect that I'll come around :) And I'm neutral about the Pips - I love the designs, but haven't bought anything because I can't quite figure out what to do with it. Your pattern looks cute though ;)

Sallie said... #

Enjoy your blog. Thanks for the chance at your giveaway!

Tanya said... #

What a great thought starter on living life with no apologies and owning our own individual quirks. It's funny you mention being so over the Pips line. I find I am the exact opposite! At first I hated the line--I just didn't get why scooter riding kids would make a good fabric. BUT (before people throw tomatoes) I have fallen in love with it gradually. I would love to win a pack and show the world WHY a scooter and a scarf can be life changing.

Teje Karjalainen said... #

Hello! I'm happy I found you from Anne! I haven't been around these last days and I'm a little bit 'out' but I agree with everything you said. It's also nice to read thoughts around the quilting and blogging.
I quilt, sew, knit etc. everything that I enjoy. I'm really happy that I have found so many dear friends through my blog who likes my crafts and blog and also the way I can create and write!
I love many kinds of fabrics. Also I may have some dear fabric even it's not anything 'special' but it has special story for me.
I would be very happy to get some 'Sherbet Pips'!
Sunny wishes from Crete! Teje
Ps. I'll be your follower.

Missy said... #

Dumb down like a Gee's Bend Quilt? Um...Don't think so. lol I love the new quilts. I don't want one like my grandmothers. If you do, great. I can like the skill needed and not want the finished project.

Having only quilted for a year now I don't have a large stash, and living in an Rv, wont ever have a huge one. I am still determining my style and what I like. I am pretty good at what I don't like and that is a good start.

I am with you...if you don't have something good to say....And that first kaleidoscope quilt of yours is stunning.

barb's creations said... #

I'm not apologising to anyone for my fabric stash and what I choose to make with it,that's my business and no one eleses.Love this post! :) Barb.

karen serna said... #

although i'm fairly new to the creative sewing world, i've loved all the inspiration. and although i'm a newbie, i'm pretty convinced that there is nothing completely new under the sun. somehow, somewhere you were inspired by something! and i think that's what i enjoy about sewing: being inspired & then giving that piece of art my take on things. :)

thanks for this blog & the give-away!

Joey said... #

Whenever I'm creating something and someone criticizes with disregard to my feelings I tell them, "Good thing I'm not making this for you." I create things for myself for the pleasure it brings me, hoping it will bring happiness and love to the recipient. (And I would love to be the proud owner of Sherbet Pips.) =)

Susan said... #

What a great post! I totally agree! Why can't we blog sand quilt what we like when we like? And Sherbet Pips...here in Australia we don't even have yardage in the shops so I would love some! I'm glad I found you!

felicity said... #

Well said, Cindy! When approaching quilting, I remember something my Mom said along the same "no apologies" lines: suit yourself. So I do! I make quilts because creating makes me happy. And I'm happiest making "just because" projects, not "obligation" projects. So that's what I do.

Anne Simonot said... #

I thought Sherbet Pips was cute, but do I need to run out and buy some? Not really. So if I'm lucky enough to be drawn, can we substitute something else? Thought your post and the original one which inspired it were very interesting.

Beezus said... #

So glad you're making a stand on this. Not for me or for anyone else, but for yourself. I appreciate it when we get a timely reminder that being creative isn't just about what someone else wants, but what we feel inspired to put together. And I have to say, I've seen some simple yet beautiful quilts of late. I've also been thinking about how we sometimes over-complicate things. Quilts, like other aspects of life, are meant to be enjoyed, whether they are so beautiful that they can only be hung on a wall or wrapped around us when we need a bit of comforting memory. I still love Sherbet Pips, and I look forward to some point in the future when I come across quilts from this era, and being reminded of way back when everyone HAD to have it. Like poodle skirts or catframes or whatever. :)

girlyhurley said... #

I love that you aren't apologizing for your behavior! It's okay and it is what gives you inspiration in your day!
I've had many conversations with Jessie and other crafters (since we work with multiple projects- not just quilting) about how many projects are okay to be working on at once. Reading your blog makes me feel like my million and one projects are okay. It's okay that I bought more yarn for a Easter craft even though I have a quilt begging to be completed. My scrapbooks will be complete and someday I will have the time to devote to quilting like you and others.

I enjoy your blog and will continue to be a "blog stalker." haha Hope all is well!


Micmacker said... #

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I've really enjoyed reading posts that respond or continue the 2 conversations that seem to be dominating blogland this month. And for the record, I still love the Pips!

Beth said... #

Loved your post today. There is plenty of room for all kinds of quilters and quilt and each has a place! Thanks for the give away!

Anonymous said... #

I buy the fabric I like. I sew what I like. I am happy that others sew what they like and buy what they like. I am also grateful for designers who design what they like. I read the blogs I like, and I like yours. THANKS!!!

Angela H said... #

If you love doing something and it makes you happy then do it - life is too short to worry about those out there who have not got anything better to do....
Great giveaway and how can you not just love the Pips....

anne said... #

Thank you for keeping it real and I love those batik fabbies toooo. Just as long as you enjoy the quilting process then surely it must be good for the sole.

Kim D. said... #

Great post! I just bet you'll find a project for the green fabric. If all else fails use it in a scrap or donation quilt. I was just thinking about ordering some of the Sherbert Pips before it sells out, it's adorable. Thanks for your generous giveaway.

Lee said... #

Fabulous post, thank you! I love that you are doing what you want and won't apologize for that! We need more bloggers like you. : )

And thanks for a wonderful giveaway. I still love Pips!

Bea said... #

I think we are well past snow here and up into the 90s F. We've had rather a lot of tornadoes lately, a great deal of very fast wind, and a few wildfires. I think that means we're basically skipping spring and heading straight for summer. I enjoyed reading what you aren't apologizing for. I think you are on the right track with those sorts of things. Do what you love, love what you do.

thequiltedmitten said... #

I'm not done with sherbet pips. I still haven't ordered any. In fact I'm kind of proud of myself considering how bombarded all of us were. It is darn cute though.

I agree on all points by the way! I'd love to see any variations you might come up with, no matter what they are!

Anonymous said... #

I've been straightening and reorganizing my stash. I had some real chaos going on in there. Found FQ's and some odd scraps in with the big pieces. Discovered I need to tame the scrap pile--maybe I'll use my GO! cutter to help with that project. Also, for a gal who loves greens and pinks, I sure have a lot of blues and browns :D

Peach Rainbow said... #

Very Inspiring Post - Thank you so much for sharing!

I am a beginner with a small stash and I love charm squares - Thanks for the giveaway :D

Leila said... #

I have thought about this Modern vs Traditional debate and it is just silly. I love traditional blocks and patterns - that is what I am drawn to, but I like them in brighter colors (just call me an American Jane wanna be). It is silly to label ourselves. Silly to worry about what online people we don't even really know will think about our fabric and silly to make quilts to try to impress others. Make beautiful things that you love, buy fabric that you love and enjoy the creative journey!

Kendra (missknitta) said... #

I'm so happy to have found your blog (via Anne at Film and Thread)! Like you, I love that Rachmaninoff piece, and I'm also a bit obsessed with that stashbuster block from Material Obsession 2 (foundation piecing is on my "to learn" list for 2011). Thank you for sharing your "no apologies" list, as well as your Sherbet Pips charm packs!

Poppyprint said... #

Like you and everyone else, I'm sure, I've spent more time in the last 2 days reading comment threads than blogs! I LOVED this post especially learning more about you (I'm so very sorry for your loss, and happy that quilting was in your life as a focus to help you through).

I especially love that you're sharing surplus Pips. I'm sure Aneela could use the love at the moment.As my friend Paula always signs off: Piece.

Kristy said... #

I just began with the Pips, how can I be done with them! The weather is cold and rainy (I'm ready for spring), my mom inspires me, and the snow was long gone before the daffodils popped out of the ground.

Thanks for such a great post and awesome giveaway!

Amelia said... #

Quilting and creating and blogging about it makes me feel good and that's why I do it! People like yourself and others in the blogging community have been so kind to me have helped me feel comfortable to continue blogging. I read a post recently by another blogger on a similar but different topic and the comments from other bloggers really got me feeling that there was something wrong with what I like and how I quilt and made me feel bad for others that might have felt singled out. Since then I have been thinking a lot about it and have decided that I cannot let my self esteem be based on what other people think or like or dislike - I have to be true to myself ... buy fabric because I love it, use a particular pattern or quilt using a particular technique because I love it, blog frequently or infrequently as the case may be depending on time I have and how I am coping with life and if I have anything to blog about.
Sorry about the essay but thanks for this post Cindy!! I feel better already :)

Anonymous said... #

Loved this post! I've read a lot of the stuff out there and for me it all comes down to....why can't we just support each other as women and encourage and cheer each others talents?

Lynn said... #

Hmm...so many things to talk about. I'm new to quilting and sewing. More of a modern quilter, but like the modern spin on traditional patterns. My first quilt was a block in a block and I hated it, so I cut it up, added a wonky cross to it and sashed it. Now I love it. Sherbert Pips? Would love 2 charm packs and a pattern.

quilary said... #

This is a great post and interesting discussion doing the rounds. My feeling is that it all comes down to "live and let live" and "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all". Individually we have to recognise that people blog, quilt, craft and sew for different reasons and like and dislike different patterns, fabrics, designers, threads, machines, tools etc...then the collective mentality will, hopefully, become to enjoy what we see, praise and learn from who we like, without feeling the need to be negative simply because someone else's "taste" is different to ours. Thanks for the opportunity to put in my bit...

Tiffany said... #

I linked here from Quilting without Obligation, and I love your message today. I also love your sub-title. Quilting keeps me sane too! Mostly, I quilt because I like creating things, I like the repetitive process of "building" blocks from bits of fabric, and I like to give my quilts away as gifts.

Kristin said... #

I really enjoyed reading your post today. I started quilting in 2007. When I began I took a class at my local quilt shop. I purchased fabrics because I liked them. I even choose a fabric that had a bold pattern on it. I didn't even care about the direction it went in my quilt. I didn't think of my style as modern or more traditional. I choose fabrics and patterns because I liked it and do not apologize. I think it's ridiculous that people have turned a passion that I enjoy and others do as well as a sort of competition. I feel that great construction and a good skill set trumps any style.

And this would be . . . . said... #

Thanks for a great post. I have fabric in my stash from years ago that I know some would not like...but I do like it so it is staying.

tracy_a said... #

Thank you!

Hey, be who you are - and who you want to be. I also knit - and if someone wants to make the same "beginner" dishcloth over and over - that's fine by me (and I will happily accept their spares!) - some people knit/sew to soothe themselves, others to create things, others to challenge themselves - whatever!

But thank you for the giveaway - looks so fun!

æble said... #

If we all spent our time being what others thought we should be wouldn't that make us one of the Stepford wives? [cringe]

I hadn't heard the dumbing down discussion, but I have been hearing people say they are scared to try something (like sewing their own clothing) or feel forced to blog in a certain way, and I don't understand it. I say do what you want, and spend your time doing something YOU love. Because in the end we are responsible for our own happiness.

Why waste hours doing something that in the end is going to make you too tired to spend time on what you enjoy? The best blogs out there, in my humble opinion, are the ones where you see the passion someone feels for something coming through. If someone doesn't like what you are writing about, they don't have to read it.

sally said... #

I haven't read the comments on "dumbing down" & have no desire to. But loved your take on the "Variations" & its application to the quilting. It makes a lot of sense to me. In fact, I thought it was great.

As for the size of your stash, no apologies needed. Why does size matter? If you're using it and enjoy it... great.

The pattern looks adorable. Thanks for the giveaway.

gregandjacqui said... #

We all have different tastes and our tastes change. It would be so boring if we all liked and did the same stuff. Dumbing up, dumbing down, what a joke. We just have different tastes and I agree no one should apologise for what they like. We should be celebrating our differences and the creativity it inspires. If we don't like something that is ok, but like you say their is no reason to be mean about it.

Joy M. said... #

I would love to win the charm pack of Sherbert pips. I think they are soo cute! Thanks for the chance to win. joylovessewing@comcast.net

lindaroo said... #

Love your blog, and your quilting creations!

The debates about art and artistry and what makes the leap from craft to art, etc. occur in all disciplines, and seem mostly a competition to justify one kind of work. Is rap really music? What if Emily Dickinson's writings had been destroyed, as per her wishes? Can you compare a Norman Rockwell with a Degas, or the Viet Nam memorial to the Lincoln memorial in the US capitol? Aren't they all great? (Well, I'm not convinced about rap music, but my teenager is working on me!)

I love to find fabric treasures on the sale tables, at the thrift stores, sharing old stash fabrics, and I love to try making something contemporary with them. I don't like the nagging feeling that swap partners may be disappointed that I don't have many designer fabrics.

I love Sherbet Pips and Aneela's variations, and I'd love to try your charming pattern, too! Thank you for the give-away, and for your sound-minded commentary!

(Whew, that's wordy, isn't it?!)

Wendy said... #

I know I am probably too late for the draw, but I did want to comment and thank you for your post......I love that you have no apologies about your quilting.....kudos to you......like most who love quilting I do so to please me........I quilt because I find it relaxing, fun and therapeutic.....I follow the beat of my own drum so to speak.....and like you if I cannot say something nice then I won't say anything at all.....common courtesy ya know!.....thank you for your honesty on this subject......and I love my fabric stash too and to most people I probably have way to much.....but then again what is too much for one person is just enough for the next!

Have a great day.....

Lisa said... #

Found your site from That Girl... I agree with you and enjoyed the read.

Anne said... #

Interesting discussion - what you like is a personal thing! We are all different so there's no right and wrong. I like simple quilts and i like complex quilts - there's always something to be learnt or to appreciate in every quilt.

And I like Sherbet Pips - I found a few FQ in a bargain bin recently .... couldn't believe my luck ... would love some charm squares to go with them to make something quilt sized.

Jeane said... #

You are giving me inspiration today to not apologize for what and how I make it. I quilt totally for pleasure and if I can share some of my skills with others, so much the better. My stash, I love, and it's part of my retirement.
I am not allowing myself to read or let my feelings become involved with dumbing down, too negative.
I love Sherbet Pips and thankyou for the giveaway.

Liz said... #

I love Sherbet Pip even though it's all over the place. I love the colors and the simple design. Thanks for the giveaway!

Carmen said... #

Thanks for asking for comments on anything we want... I found a mouse in my recycling bin today and made my hubby come home from work early to set it free. :)

Melissa said... #

Rachel's post really did spark a lot of conversation -- both on her blog and on a lot of others. I'm glad, too! I like to see conversation and (friendly) banter and honesty! We bloggers throw a LOT out there, and don't often get anything back...but her post has really stirred it up. :)

In other news, I'm ready for spring. I live in Colorado, and it just seems to keep being cold and snowy. Not as snowy as your cabins, mind you, but more snowy than I want it to be at the end of April. :-/

Jen B said... #

Make what you love! It means more that way.

Lynne (Lily's Quilts) said... #

I'll be honest, I'm slightly bored of all the debate about this that and the other going around blogland but, having said that, I really enjoyed your positive refreshing outlook and loved reading this post. I am so sorry for the losses of your grandchild and friend and thank you for the lovely music which I listened to - I also love Rachmaninov.

Pam said... #

Funny post, but made me realize that some of the things you talked about should just be a given. We all like different things, why should we have to defend the things we like. Is is because we are secretly worried that we won't measure up or that people will make fun of us? I have a young teenage daughter and this theme is constantly talked about as she moves through middle school.

I for one an more a sewer and not a quilter, so it appears that I have missed out on some "trends" going around, but I know that my daughter and I would love the charm pack.

Ladybug said... #

I love the reality check your post offers. I have been quilting for several years and really enjoy going back to my early quilts. Yes there are clipped points and mismatched seems but the also contain some of my all time favorite fabrics and color combination. They are from a time when I didn't know any of the "rules of quilting" so I broke most of them. Including letting a 4 and 6 year old help me with the sewing. The final products are gems and I would never apologize for them.

The Hungry Crafter said... #

Very interesting stuff going on in blog world :) I think I'll keep my two cents on the matter to myself for now, though, LOL! Glad to see you are not apologizing for your opinions -- bravo!

Meg said... #

Good for you for being YOU and not letting anyone else tell you what you "should" or "should not" do! I am fairly new to quilting- about 90% of my stash comes from my grandmother's quilting stash and she had some eclectic fabrics in there! I also love all of them, because I know that she picked them all out of garage sales, consignment sales, ends of yardages from fabric stores, odd cuts from here and there. My mom says they used to deliver piles and piles of fabric to their house and people would come and pick through all the irregular things fabric stores didn't want. I have old sheets that my grandmother obviously had some kind of plans for- sewn up different ways and hemmed here and there. I love my stash because I can feel my grandmother in it. It is probably NOTHING like a "modern" quilter would use or even want but I LOVE it and I would never trade it!

mckeearts studio said... #

I like what you said. It makes sense that variations are the name of the game. And Rachmaninoff inspires me. Actually just about everything inspires me. My husband often asks what I'm staring at...sometimes it's space, sometimes shadows, or whatever is around me. I mean...have you ever just looked at a filing cabinet and though 'hmmm..that could look interesting in 2d on fabric"? Well, probably not, but you get my point. And I LOVE the pattern you are giving away. It looks really fun to make.

suesueb said... #

I've been following some of the blog posts too about all this stuff. As I wrote on one blog, my mom taught me that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Everyone has different tastes, thank goodness. I love purples and blues, some people hate purple. Each of us decides our own favorites. If you don't care for something someone else created, don't leave a comment. It's that simple.
p.s. Thanks for the giveaway, the Pips are adorable and created with love too!

Andrew Spearman Blake said... #

Long live the freedom to express... in any form. "i take the world in through my eyes, pass it through my mind, heart and soul, and then return what i've seen to the world through the art of expression." -emmerson fields

Lappesola said... #

You must keep the green fabric. I'm sure you'll need just that colour some day.

I love to read your blog.

Best wishes from Sol

Amanda Jean said... #

i loved this blog post, Cindy. i have a few quilts that i could make over and over and over again. it seems like more often than not, after i finish a quilt, i think, "Oh, wow, what if i made this pattern in these colors." No wonder my list never gets any shorter!

i also spent a better part of my morning yesterday reading Rachel's post and comment. wow. my head is still spinning a little bit, but i feel like it's pointed me in a good direction, blog wise. hurray for that!

happy friday to you!

Ashley said... #

I think the thing that i'm bothered by the most is the unwillingness to let new people into pre-established clubs that involve quilting. Take, for example, Flickr groups.

I am not someone that can take a picture to save her life, so I don't take a lot of "in progress" pictures and I'm fairly new to piecing (baby steps), so I don't have a lot of finished projects. When it's suggested that I wait to join a group because I don't have a lot of activity on my Flickr, that I can just watch from the sidelines and not add to comments... it really kind of hurts my feelings.

I may be new, but I have good ideas too. *gets off soapbox*

Sally said... #

I am wondering about the pattern that you have used with your FMF...is that something you have made up, or commercially available somewhere? I really love it and would like to add it to my "to-do" list. Thanks!

RG said... #

Well I gotta say, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post... thanks!!
Glad I found your blog :-)

Carol said... #

This was a great post. Thank you for sharing. I think the word "dumb" is used way to easily these days. Like sewing for dummies. I tell my sewing students in every class that we aren't dumb we are just learning at our own pace and marching to our own creativity. Are some modern quilts easier than traditional quilts? Maybe.Is modern sewing taking shortcuts that would make a traditional seamstress cringe. Maybe.But my view as a sewing instructor is that modern sewing is suceeding where traditional sewing couldn't. It's energizing a whole new generation to want to sew. Isn't that what it's really all about? Sharing the love of sewing with everyone.

April Shae said... #

I really just don't understand what the big deal is about either way, but have been reading alot of different opinions in blogland. I just love to sew, whether that be clothes for my daughter or quilting. And call it what you want basic, modern, etc...it is just down right fun!!

Marg M said... #

I Love increasing my stash!

Always Sewing said... #

We survived a very horrible break out of tornados here in north Alabama. We were very blessed to just be out of power for about 100 hours (my kids counted it down). I did do some hand sewing, worked on my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt.

Twinfibers said... #

hmmm... I loved your post. :) Makes me happy that I'm not the only one thinking that way about what has gone on the past few months.

Elisa (AKA scrapcat) said... #

Wonderful! Very, very well said. I write my blog and collect my fabrics because it makes me happy. That's all

Dana said... #

It is not always what someone says but how it is put across and interpreted by others. I too have spent a silly amount on fabric as I love heather ross FFA1 and why not! Each to their own. I would love to enter your giveaway, I love Pips and your blogs pretty amazing too :-)

Anonymous said... #

brinkka2011 says: Bravo, your opinion is useful

CarlyMaria said... #

I know you posted this a long time ago, but this really made my day. As a young quilter (22) I often find myself apologizing for my age. It's just silly when I think about it, how could I change my age?! But I do it... I really loved your thoughts on this. This post is exactly how I feel. Who cares if I make a simple quilt sometimes, they are beautiful to me and the people who receive them and that's what matters. Thanks a lot for sharing.

leanne said... #

I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this post - I know it was almost a year ago but still very relevant and probably always will be :)

gail.elizabeth said... #

After reading your post, it made me realize what my hubby is always telling me, that I am too hard on myself... Too critical of my work and what others may think.. Did I match colors correctly, did I sew it correctly, did I quilt ths correctly... I question myself in my quilting often and I shouldn't.. No apologizes... Love, love this post.. Thank you...

ChristaQuilts said... #

Love this post! You are spot-on about everything you said :-)

Michele said... #

What a wonderful post! Well said!

Shanna said... #

Its almost been two years since you posted this and reading ti again today was just the inspiration and kick in the pants I needed. Thank you, sincerely.

eva said... #

I'd never heard of dumbing down - although i probably can figure it out considering "some" of the blogging quilters out there.

I love all of your NO apologies. I love to make quilts, To date I have made quilts solely for the purpose of giving them as gifts to friends & family. Somewhere along the way I heard the term "utility quilt" and it described my wish for the quilts I make. I want them to be used, cuddled, snuggled, wrapped & rolled.....and when they wear out - I want to be told, so I can make another to replace it.

Whats the problem with Batiks??? dear oh dear..... we shouldn't have batiks???? OH MY!!!

love love love love this post......

Unknown said... #

Not even sure what path of links I followed to get here, but I LOVE this post. Thank you. It is STILL timely and appropriate. Brava.

Andrea said... #

I don't know how I got to this post, but it was just such a great read to remind me to keep doing what piques my interest in the moment and don't get caught up on the latest trend, etc. so, thanks! :-)

Anonymous said... #


I came across your blog via selvageblog and have just read this post....

...and I couldn't agree more. For something that is supposed to bring us joy and satisfaction it does get turned into something far more complicated than it needs to be. The 'debate' between contemporary and traditional for me is fascinating.
I have seen ladies at an exhibition be drawn visually to a piece on display and when they got close and read the label they said 'Oh I don't like contemporary' and walked away. What's that all about??? Are you just missing out on something gorgeous because of the category it was entered in??? It may also happen the other way round but I haven't witnessed that.
Sorry this has turned into a bit of a rant but I am truly fascinated by the divide that this causes in our creative community and feel it is such a shame. Just because you don't practice a particulary style doesn't mean that you can't appreciate and learn something from it.
I also agree that it is very easy to try and measure up and keep up with 'The Jones's'. There is such a wealth of talent out there that I think it is very easy to feel quite inadequate which is why it was so refreshing to read your post, thank you for sharing.

Swedish Scrapper said... #

Love this post! I just came over from Jenny at Sew Kind of Wonderful, and I'm glad I did! I'm even going to send it to my mom (another lover of batiks, no apologies!) thanks again.....

Marianne said... #

I'm several years late but love this post. It's what I feel too. I thought I was alone. Thanks!

Clairequilty said... #

This post is still inspiring and time related although it was written a few years ago. I came over from Maureen Cracknell Handmade blog and feel so lucky to live in a time where people all over the world can express and share their quilting ideas. Thanks for sharing. Hopefully you are still expressing yourself through quilting and blogging.

Sue said... #

I've come into this late but you have made a special page for this post (and it deserves one)... I totally agree with you on all points (I have a thing about Jane Sassaman prints and really batiks, what's wrong with them again? they're just another print style fabric in varying colours). Love your Random Thoughts posts too. Keep up the great work.

CapitolaQuilter said... #

Great post and philosophy - on the same page as you are and happy for it.

Anonymous said... #

I'm a little late to finding this article, but unfortunately this "modern" discussion has been going on so long it almost seems timeless. Thanks for putting your empowering point of view out there! I wish more people would realize that not sewing whatever the current trend is only makes your work more unique and wonderful, and avoid getting sucked into the "you're not one of us" mentality that is so prevalent.