Sunday, July 12, 2015

The One Year Journey of a Quilting Blogger

Me, Julie, the Pink Doxie Mama

This post has been turning in my mind for a month. I joined the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers in June as a way to hone my blogging skills and meet others. We've covered the gamut of topics in our Facebook group, and I've enjoyed being introduced to both the new blogs, and the real voices behind them.  

We are graciously hosted by 4 veteran bloggers. Each has a hive of their own, and 4 bloggers for each week. There are wonderful giveaways each week, and you can sign up by visiting each of them.

Stephanie Palmer at Late Night Quilter
Yvonne Fuchs at Quilting Jet Girl
Cheryl Brickey at Meadow Mist Designs
Terri Ann Swallow at Childlike Fascination

New Blogger Series

Visit my fellow 3 bloggers this week:
Carrie at The Zen Quilter 
Lori at Sew Psychd
Cindy at Sewing Moxie

Each of us takes a week to highlight our blog, and something unique about it or us. I wasn't sure what spoke the most to people about Pink Doxies, and as a visual person resorted to looking through my past pictures. It was then I saw the progression of my year, and how much I've learned. Isn't it always more about the journey, and less the destination. Enjoy! 

The Quilt that Started It All

I saw a friend wearing a fleece jacket in hot pink, and I was compelled to make this quilt. I'd made a quilt for each of my children as they were born, and had only ever hand quilted. The quilt above, and churn dash below were both hand quilted because that's the only way I knew. That was last summer in 2014.

My sister-in-law is a quilter, and had showed me how to FMQ the year before. She made it look so easy, and I found it impossible whenever I tried it. I sat down one day with resolute determination, and a pair of Machinger's gloves. I would find out how to make it work for me, and wouldn't get up until it did. Within the month, I made this quilt for a friend of the family, and used FMQ. I used my trusty Pfaff, 24 years old, and a 7" throat.

Can you see I had to evenly space the rabbit print in the brown and orange borders? 'Splitting Hares' was my first of pieced backs, and from then on I've tried to incorporate them into all my quilts.

One of the earliest books to influence me was Sunday Morning Quilts. I had a special attraction to scrap projects, but scrap bins don't develop until you've made a lot of quilts. I cut into my growing stash for this quilt, and changed it up.

A pieced back...

...and I quilted it from the back in love motifs. My work in progress here.

Quilting had me hook, line, and sinker. 

One of my next quilts started all because of the fabric. Zombies! 

And then it became all about the quilting. This is where my love affair with Aurifil started. 

During this time frame I upgraded to a Janome Creative sewing machine with an 11" throat. I could quilt faster and easier. 

This darling below was my first use of a template. A simple tumbler quilt made from inexpensive fat quarters from JoAnn's. I use it everyday, and it's wearing like iron.

I chose a completely different project next, and tried an improv piece with a pojagi feel.

Paper-piecing was completely new for me, so I gave it a try. I turned two blocks into a quilted shoulder bag.

A straight line quilting experiment turned into a small clutch.

I discovered selvage sewing, little bags, and wound up with over 1,000 zippers one day for $12. 

My construction improved, and I made many more bags. 
Small, medium....

...and giant bags large enough to carry several quilts at a time.

There was the quilted dog bed phase one month.

Minnie is up and Effy is down.

And then into wall hangings before Christmas.

I celebrated my 100th post with a reminder to myself.

I discovered linky parties in January, and it was a short few weeks until I started my own, The Pet Project Show. Link up from midnight Friday until midnight Monday every weekend. 

Quilted pillows were next, and I made a variety.

The prize for my second giveaway was shipped off to a quilter blogger friend in Canada.

I always returned to making quilts. I was doing my research about pre-cuts, and this was my first made only with charm packs. It was also the first time I made half square triangles.

One quilt for my dad's birthday. 

I kept piecing quilts for the 3 babies coming in our family, and continued to admire the 1930's fabrics.

Riley Blake's Floriography

I joined a couple of blog hops. One for new bloggers, and the other about tree birds. I realized how much I was drawn to original design over a set pattern.

I experimented with new battings, and found the quilting 
showed so well under the cotton/bamboo blend. This quilt
has a completely different feel to it, and is heavier.

I had to investigate what this 'set on point' thing was about so I made one myself. I learned about setting and corner triangles first hand, and why not to use bias on the edges.

More pillows, simpler patterns, more focus on color.

My first shot at using triangles.

Can you see how the skills I was learning along the way continued to develop in to more complicated quilts and color combinations? I went from HSTs to QSTs, and a much larger quilt size. This was also my first try at longarm quilting. It wouldn't fit under my Janome with the cotton/bamboo batting.
A neighbor was so very generous, and taught me on her own Tin Lizzie.

Allison Glass fabrics

I'd never done a mini quilt swap so I joined one. Not only
did I have to get the swap thing figured out, but it was all
on Instagram. Alas, my introduction to social media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and image sharing.

Curved piecing? Had to try that, too.

I met a friend whose passion was Y-seams, and had to see what the fuss was all about.  It was challenging, and lots of fun. My world was opening up to infinite possibilities.

The stars aligned, and I bought Axel, my Handiquilter Avante just before the end of June.

A few weeks ago, the first UFO was finished on it.

I finished 2 more quilts this weekend on Axel. One for a friend, and one for myself. It's very, very addictive.

My life has little resemblance to a year ago. I wake up excited to make the most of the sewing time I have each day, and go to sleep exhausted. I imagine I have a smile on my face even in my sleep. People ask me why I do it?

What I Don't Say Very Often

I can't begin to tell you how much wealthier I am today than a year ago, Not so much flush in cash, but my world is full of people again who enjoy the same things I do. Ones who care to give time to make charity quilts, help someone new get started, or send off an encouraging word to a fellow blogger before they start their day. For the most part, quilters are some of the kindest people I've ever met. My cup is overflowing.

I see the world differently. Colors aren't just green or pink, but more Kate Spain's intense emerald green from her Daydream line, or the soft raspberry pink that Tula Pink uses so much. I might look at the veining in leaves so I replicate them correctly in stitching, or the elipse made by a bicycle tire turned slightly. I imagine it in a quilt design, and how I could space out those spokes. How many times I regret I don't have my good camera along! Quilting has added a level of complexity to everything I experience.

Lastly, I know my heart, and where I'm headed with it. I've ended one career, and started the next. I have as much passion today as I had as a child on the first day of summer vacation. I am empowered! I'm an example to my children that growing up does not equate to acting old. They shake their heads at my excitement about quilting!

That excitement is contagious, and it frequently shows in their own projects.

The Doxie girls and I are in the planning mode for our next year. I dare say it will involve color and originality, so follow with me by clicking your favorite icon below, or Instagram in the top right sidebar. You don't want to miss a single post. In the meantime, schedule your own sewing time, and make something you love--what ever that may be.

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.

Linking up with~
Scraptastic Tuesday
Blossom Heart Quilts
Show and Tell Tuesday
Freemotion by the River
Quiltstory--where they featured my 
Hexagon quilt Wrens & Friends
Cooking Up Quilts
Hug-a-Bit Quilts


Myra @ Busy Hands Quilts said...

You spin a lovely tale, and I enjoyed reading about your journey this past year!

Sew of Course said...

Wow, you've been really, really busy! So many wonderful quilts and other items made, and it is wonderful to read how much you learned on the way. Your writing lets the passion shine through, so good to read!
I've only just now found your blog, I'll be following along to see what else you are making.

Stitchin At Home said...

What a busy year. You wrote a lovely post with so much accomplished in the short span of a year.

Eleanor said...

Wow, you've been busy! All this in one year?! Lovely to see all your great work!

Linda Swanekamp said...

I thought I sewed a lot and tried a lot of new things, but I look like a slacker next to you. I find just getting my photos on my blog hard to keep up with. I think I have grown a lot this past year. I also bought a long arm, in March, and really still stink on it compared to my domestic machine. Congratulations on all your quilts and adventures!

Tanya Quilts in CO said...

Thank you for sharing your journey! I can't wait to see what is still to come.

Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl said...

What an amazing journey you have been on over the last year, Julie. Your progression and body of work is amazing, and it will be fun to see how you continue to evolve!

The Colorful Fabriholic said...

Wow, amazing story! You've come such a long way in quilting in such a short time, and you're so prolific! I've visited you occasionally from linky parties, and now I'm following via Bloglovin'. Looking forward to watching your journey.

Ruth said...

Wow what a year - thanks for sharing your fab quilts - so much to look at! Isn't it amazing when you look back over your blog and see what you have achieved!

Tish Stemple said...

That is an amazing story and you have accomplished so much in your year of blogging I feel inspired. Where in the world did you find the zombie fabric? I love it and think I need to have some.

Kathy H said...

I really enjoyed reading this post and seeing your journey of quilting. You have accomplished so much in just that year.

Pedal Sew Lightly said...

Great read! What a wild ride you have had the past year. I l love the way you took your process apart so scientifically. I can relate to a lot of your story as my transition into quilting was very similar. I've spent the last two years learning how to balance two new activities, quilting and working in our downsized family business. It is inspiring to see how much you have accomplished in such a short period of time and I am excited to see where the adventure takes you next. Blessings!

Barb Neiwert said...

Perfect jump in getting a long arm - you'll enjoy it so much! I think that same about so many of the things you said in your post. Quilters are the nicest people :) Looking forward to seeing what your second year brings. Enjoy the ride!

Jayne said...

Julie, What a fun journey you took us on! I totally understand the excitement you feel. A surge of electricity runs through me every time I learn a new technique, finish a project or see inspiration from others! You've come a long way Baby!!! I adore reading your posts...keep it up! You rocked this!

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

What a year you have had! Thanks for sharing it with us! I love so many of your quilts, but especially the birds in the trees. Wow!

Kate said...

What a great year in quilts! You have made some awesome quilts. As a women who works predominately with men, my only contact with other quilters is via blogland. It's an amazing place filled will wonderfully kind and talented people. Hope your second year is even fuller!

Anja @ Anja Quilts said...

What a journey you have had. Hope you are enjoying the long arm.

sandi s said...

I have loved reading your blog so much, but just reading this post I am super impressed at all you have accomplished in this last year. I love all your pictures you have posted on this blog today. I look forward to following you and the Doxie girls for a long time. Hugs,

Margo Yang said...

Wow, what an inspiration you are! You're amazing! Really enjoy reading about your journey into the quilting world. Lovely post.

Angie in SoCal said...

Wow - you have been so busy and so creative. I was not surprised that you went from the domestic to the longarm. It was meant to be. Look foward to your inspiring ways in the coming year.

Linda @ kokaquilts said...

I enjoyed reading your story.. such a lot done in one year, and very inspirational!

Val's Quilting Studio said...

What a great one year post Julie!! Blogging is such a wonderful "virtual quitling guild" isn't it!! I look forward to seeing what ya come up with as I continue to be a faithful follower! V:) congrats! Glad you are here in blogland!

Mari said...

Wow, that's all in one year? Lovely post about your quilting journey. It's a great way to make art, isn't it? No one ever regrets choosing the bigger life. Glad to have you along with all of us! :)

Sandra Walker said...

ONE year? Was exactly what kept going through my mind too! What a great record of all that you've accomplished, and how FAR you've come, baby! I remember (and still just adore) that birds quilt! It's the one that we connected on. :-) Here's to so many many more quilts and adventures and paths!

Ann said...

My god I had no idea how much you've done in a single year! Amazing! I wonder what you'll have done in a years' time...

Lisa J. said...

Amazing journey you've shared here, and so inspirational. I love it all.

Unknown said...

Hi Julie. I loved reading your post. How you got all that done in one year, I have no idea. I think I just have way too many orphan tops and WIP, so I wonder how anyone ever gets around to finishing anything.

I think it's wonderful that you made the commitment to the longarm so quickly. It took me forever to decide whether that was something I could make work or not.

You're spot on about the quilting community. People are so generous with their time, and they're so welcoming. It's not at all the impression that I had going in to this.

Liz said...

Great post Julie! I love seeing all the progress you've made in a year - you've certainly been adventurous, diving into y seams and curved pricing and long arming! Wow!

Preeti said...

Way to go Julie. Beautifully documented and well-written. Kudos to you!!!

Bernie Kringel said...

What a wonderful post Julie. I feel like I got to know you and am so very impressed with your quilts. Lovely, lovely, lovely! You are quite prolific - I am betting you are really organized to be able to accomplish all of this. Totally agree with you on the spirit of the quilting community - what a fantastic group, right?

Rosa said...

Thanks for sharing your journey and it's nice to meet you.Your quilts and quilting are awesome.Great job!

Jasmine said...

You have been busy and done so much! I loved reading about your journey, and I look forward to seeing what you do next.

Nicky said...

All this in one year? Truly amazing! I can feel your passion and enthusiasm - keep going especially with those scraps! Thanks for linking up to #scraptastictuesday

Mary Huey said...

We should all take the time on a regular basis to review our work -- it such a good self-education and it's makes us more aware of our progress. Thanks for sharing yours, Julie!!

Wendy said...

Wow, I can hardly believe that you have made all these quilts, hanging, cushions, bags in just 1 year! Did you even sleep? It was great to see your progression in this post and how far you've come in 12 short months!

AStrangerView said...

I like to try everything possible too. Your quilts are beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

Deb Chimes said...

Your passion shines through brightly in this post. What a wonderful and productive year you've had!

Tu-Na Quilts said...

Wow! You sure accomplished a lot in a year! Loved reading your post and "hearing" your enthusiasm. BTW. Your calendar year must be much longer than mine. My year went by so quickly that I could fill only one page with what I've accomplished. I need some of your energy!!!