Festival of Quilts and Stash – I’m a hoarder am I?

It’s early August, which means that the Annual Festival of Quilts is now a matter of weeks away. I’ve taken my eye off the big “shows” the last couple of years – I already have more stash than I know what to do with, and have become very disappointed with what’s been on offer.

A few weeks ago I attended the “Sewing for Pleasure” and “Hobbycrafts” event up at the NEC, and only went because I had nothing better to do. There was a time when this show took up two of the larger halls of the NEC, and had little unused space around the edges. This year, it was in one hall, and there was a lot of noticeable empty space. However, the aisles remained narrow, resulting in blockages where people stopped to look or chatter, and the units looked to be the same size as normal.  One of the good things about crafting is that it’s very inclusive for people on reduced mobility – the downside is that there are plenty of people with crutches, walking sticks and mobility chairs. which are not a problem *in themselves* but are a problem when the aisles are barely big enough to let two pass each other, never mind allowing people to stop and look at stands. I don’d understands why, when there is plenty of free space, that aisles can’t be a few inches wider? Continue reading

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Friday Salon: Making quilting more inclusive

husbands-lounge

I read this post over on Whilst She Naps recently hat uses a term at a quilting show (“Husbands’ lounge”) to make a point about making Quilting more Inclusive. Whilst I agree with the overall point of the post, I think the author missed a trick, and should/could have taken this labelling to be a symptom of the issue, rather than the actual source.  Ironically I also find that some of the language used in the comments is a rather strong and devisive rather than inclusive. I’ll let you go and read the post and the comments, and I’ll be here when you get back.

What I see as the issue

Quilting and the “creative arts” do have a perception problem, and is seen by many of all genders as “women’s work”.  Picking on a rest area being called “Husbands’ Lounge” is not going to change this perception. What needs to happen is a change to the value of quilting, knitting, sewing, designing away from being “woman’s work” that has little or no value and change it into something anyone should be able to do.

(As an aside, I saw person x ask person y on facebook how they could commission a knitted piece, cos they didn’t want to pay Etsy prices that were “too high”. Thankfully person y turned round and told x how prices reflected the time and effort knitting the piece, so x could cough up the money….or learn to knit herself).

I think we need to teach our children that there are no gender specific roles that are restricted to “”only boys” or “only girls”. Girls can be scientists, engineers, racing car drivers. Boys can knit, play with Barbie, become cooks (girls can be chefs!). Everyone can be a designer, a creator, a maker, a producer – the delivery method shouldn’t matter.

So what do you think?

I find the comments on the original post to be fascinating, and I think reflect an underlying fear and tension following the US Presidential election. The comments swing between “we need to be more inclusive!”, “there’s not a problem, get over yourself!” “I’m going to unsubscribe, but not before I tell you so you can beg me to stay!” and many shades in between.

As with many roles, it’ll take many a strong role model for people to follow – where are the male creatives leading the way? I believe that many (not all) of the currently visible creatives (such as the fashion designers) do happen to be gay, which – here I agree on the homophobia – men fear to follow as they dread to think they will be (wrongly) labelled as gay, so it will take more than one strong man to lead the way here.  It will also require a mind set change from both men and women that men are allowed to do this – several of the comments on the original article tell of how male visitors are derided by other men and women for taking more than nominal interest in the craft.

I do think that when it was common for there to be at least one person in every family who was knitting, making clothes etc, there was more appreciation for the inherient value of something – knowing where the materials came from, how long it took to make etc. If you can get a jumper for £5 on the high street, why would you pay £60 for someone to make something?

 

Summertime Blog and Reader Challenge – Non Book related hobbies

Summertime Blog and Reader challenge - week 4

It’s week four of Parajunkee’s Summertime Blog & Reader Challenge, where the week is about moving further away from books and blogging about the things we enjoy, other than reading. It’s Post 15 and we are asked to talk about our non-book related hobbies

My other main hobby is crafts, and I currently have a couple on the go.

I’ve had a stash of fabric that’s been following me around for years.  The bulk of it was a set of quilting fabric that I picked up from a company called Laura Ashley, in what must have been the early 1990s.  I think it’s followed me through 2 countries and 3 houses, so a few months ago I bit the bullet and started doing what’s known as “paper piecing”. At the moment there are several large squares of fabric (made up of 16 smaller squares) sitting on my dining room table. Sooner or later I will have to join them together and make something (though right now not sure what, beyond some kind of quilt top).

There is also other piles of fabric stash lying around the place (one of the reasons I decided I had to do something with the stuff I had). Some of this is specific from patchwork/quilting companies, and some have just been from shirts etc that have died a death and are otherwise no use to anyone.  Again, as with many crafters, I am a bit of a hoarder here and simply need to get around to using it.

I’m a sucker for making large pieces in cross-stitch, many of which have been given to family or are currently hanging on my walls.  I have one Work In Progress that I started at least a year ago, am about 2/3rds of the way through and need to finish it, if only to stop it looking at me and guilt tripping me for ignoring it!

Once in a while I get a fad for knitting – something that proved useful when I was sick and couldnt see well enough to read or do sewing. At least I didnt need to see to feel my way round a set of knitting needles!

What about you? What are your non-reading hobbies?

Summertime Blog and Reader Challenge: Marking Special Occasions

Summertime Blog and Reader challenge - week 4

It’s week four of Parajunkee’s Summertime Blog & Reader Challenge, where the week is about moving further away from books and blogging about the things we enjoy, other than reading. It’s Post 14 and we are allowed to post a Random Non-Book Related Post.

I’m seeing a lot of internet traffic (primarily from the US, naturally) about marking significant moments such as 9/11, often by making quilts or using some other crafty skill.

I was just wondering how you marked an occasion, either good or bad? Do you make anything for weddings, christenings, birthdays, major holidays (Christmas, Passover etc), funerals, passings etc?

Do you make a quilt or patchwork from clothes from someone you’ve lost (e.g. a grandparent)? Do you have someone in the forces that you’ve made something for them – either whilst they’re out there, or for when they’ve come back?

I’ve made some things for family: a large sampler for my cousin’s 40th; a cross stitched cushion cover when my first niece was born; a Lavender and Lace sampler when my brother got married; a copy of a photo for my sister’s birthday. My mother has also had several large cross stitch pieces given to her for birthdays etc, when she’s seen it in progress and expressed interest in having it.

And of course, there’s a whole industry around Christmas, which often starts in July!

Have you had anything made for you? Or have you made anything to mark a moment, for yourself or anyone else?

Parajunkee’s Summertime Blog and Reader – Random non book related post

Parajunkee Summertime week 2

This is Parajunkee’s Week 2 Summertime Blog and Reader – Random non-book related post. We are, apparently, allowed to talk about anything but books today!.  One of my other interests is crafts, especially quilts, so this is what this post is about – marking special occasions.

I’m seeing a lot of internet traffic (primarily from the US, naturally) about marking significant moments such as 9/11, often by making quilts.

I was just wondering how you marked an occasion, either good or bad? Do you make anything for weddings, christenings, birthdays, major holidays (Christmas, Diwali etc), funerals, passings etc?

Do you make a quilt or patchwork from clothes from someone you’ve lost (e.g. a grandparent)? Do you have someone in the forces that you’ve made something for them – either whilst they’re out there, or for when they’ve come back?

I’ve made some things for family members – a large sampler for my cousin’s 40th; a cross stitched cushion cover when my first niece was born; a Lavender and Lace sampler when my brother got married; a copy of a photo for my sister’s birthday. My mother has also had several large cross stitch pieces given to her for birthdays etc, when she’s seen it in progress and expressed interest in having it.

And of course, there’s a whole industry around Christmas, which often starts in July! I’m currently working on using fabric I picked up in the 1990s to produce a quilted item for no better reason than: I have this fabric and it’s about time I used it.

Have you had anything made for you? Or have you made anything to mark a moment, for yourself or anyone else?

What do you mean I have too much stash?!

i might win the lottery

 

Despite promising myself I wouldn’t go to the 2015 Festival Of Quilts, I have found that I have “magically” booked the Friday off work that corresponds to the Festival of Quilts. Surprise! I still don’t have a ticket, mind, but there are generally tickets available on the door on the day. Previous years I also went to some of the social events, and I’ve noticed that this year, the Gala Dinner is back on after a few years absence – however it’s black tie and I would be coming straight from work, so no chance to glam up before hand!

I already have loads of stash lying around the house, including plenty of fabric, but have yet to make something with any of it. Each year I promise myself that I will and the next year comes along and yet……Does anyone else find this?

I’m finding myself getting better at resisting actually spending the big money on stuff, often by not taking the cash with me in the first place. I think this year I will concentrate on some of the books, as well as the “necessities” (needles, threads etc) that will always be used no matter what craft you’re doing.

In previous years I’ve taken photos of the winners of the competitions, and I’ve kept them after deleting my other blog. I still haven’t decided what I’m going to do with them, and don’t think I will take photos this year.

I would love to hear about any Quilt Festivals that you’ve been to.  Is there a regular one near you? What was the last one you went to?

Book Review: Alice’s Tulips by Sandra Dallas

alicestulips

Alice Bullock is a young newlywed whose husband, Charlie, has just joined the Union Army, leaving her on his Iowa farm with only his formidable mother for company. Alice writes lively letters to her sister filled with accounts of local quilting bees, the rigors of farm life, and the customs of small-town America. But no town is too small for intrigue and treachery, and when Alice finds herself accused of murder, she discovers her own hidden strengths. Rich in details of quilting, Civil War-era America, and the realities of a woman’s life in the nineteenth century, Alice’s Tulips is Sandra Dallas at her best.

It took me a while to get into the writing style – it is where one sister (Alice) writes letters to her sister Lizzie. Some of it is a little forced (reminding her sister as to how many brothers they’ve got for instance) in order to get the back story in, but it’s minor and soon got over.

The letters are one sided (you never get to read the replies) and tells of two years on a farm with Alice, her mother in law and various waifs and strays, all whilst Charlie is off fighting in the Civil war.

Alice tries to bear the unwanted attention of a local womaniser, but never contemplated that she would be accused when he turned up dead on their land. There are also diversion in some of the other women in the town (you hear little of the men).

Once I got past the slightly unusual format, I enjoyed reading this book! Although reading through this review again, I can remember little of the story itself now, and it has blended with several other civil war quilting books that I’ve read in the last few years, so dont know if that reflects well on this book or not