Saturday, January 31, 2009

Weekly Geeks (quilting!)

When I read this week's Weekly Geeks activity, I nearly set up a new blog for it:

#1. What are you passionate about besides reading and blogging? For example, are you crafty (knitting, woodworking, scrapbooking, model building)? Do you cook? Into gaming (computer or board)? Sports (player or spectator)? Photography? Maybe you like geocaching, rock climbing? Or love attending events like renaissance fairs, concerts? Music? Dancing? You get the idea.

Tell us why you're passionate about it. Post photos of what you've made or of yourself doing whatever it is you love doing. #2. Get us involved. Link to tutorials, recipes, Youtube videos, websites, fan sites, etc, anything that will help us learn more about your interest or how to do your hobby. Maybe you'd like to link to another hobbyist whose work you admire or tell us about a book or magazine related to your interest.

I've been quilting for longer than I've been reading children's books (as a parent, anyway), so I really could fill a whole blog easily. I'd done a lot of crafty things growing up - crochet, knitting, cross-stitch, scrapbooking, etc., but discovered quilting about five years ago, when I saw a copy of Carol Doak's 50 Fabulous Paper-Pieced Stars. I was instantly hooked.

For the most part, I enjoy creating busy, colorful machine-pieced and quilted projects more than quietly hand quilting, although I would like to try more of the latter someday. I have a shelf or two full of quilting books (of course), and reading them makes my mind spin from one planned project to another to another until I generally fall asleep. For those who don't know, quilters tend to be fabric hoarders, and I have even more fabric scraps than books...entire drawers full of colorful kids-type prints, a drawer of bright florals collected in Tahiti, stacks of "fat quarters" (a particular quilter's cut) in case I'd ever like to make a polka-dotted quilt, a fish-themed quilt, a candy quilt, a red and white quilt, etc. Like bibliophiles, if I live to be 100, I could never accomplish all I have planned. I guess that is one benchmark of a good hobby.

If the spacing works out, you'll see photos of some of the quilty things I've made along the lefthand side of this post. Most of them I machine pieced and quilted, sometimes from a pattern (like the batik Moons Over Mountains quit at the top, from a Fons and Porter magazine or the windmills quilt on the bottom, from a John Flynn kit), and others (like the music-themed "blues" quilt) of my own design. I quilted them all by machine, except for the Moons Over Mountains, which I sent out for quilting when I was pregnant and knew I'd never finish it myself by winter. The quilt made for the baby bookworm (third from the top) is an "I-spy" quilt, perfect for tossing down on the ground and reading books on! Each square pictures an every day or cartoonish image, like blueberries, Charlie Brown, trains, and birds, and is repeated twice, so he can hunt for the matching object. At 14 months, he already really enjoys hunting for the items he knows (blueberries, birds, hat...).

In terms of #2, there are so many websites and blogs related to quilting that I don't really know how to begin to answer this. I haven't even looked at quilting blogs since I started blogging, because I thought it might make me long for what I can't seem to find time to do anymore, but I know there are many many great blogs out there.

A fun online community of quilters is rec.crafts.textiles.quilting. And Quilter's Cache, which contains free quilt block patterns, is a real gift to quilters. Online (and real life) quilt stores abound; a few that are fun to browse are,, and

For the most part, I have preferred to get most of my quilting "fix" from magazines (like Fons and Porter: Love of Quilting, American Patchwork and Quilting, and New Zealand Quilter) and books galore. Some of the many quilting authors on my shelf are Carol Doak, Evelyn Sloppy, Eleanor Burns, Kathy Sandbach, Sally Schneider, and Sharon Pederson. I have had the opportunity to take classes with a number of these authors (check out your local quilt festivals), and they were all down-to-earth, fun, extremely talented women.

To keep this on topic, I'll squeeze in a review of one of our favorite children's books which gets bonus points for containing a lovely scrappy quilt on the child's bed:

A Lion in the Meadow (Picture Puffin) (Paperback), by Margaret Mahy. This book came all the way from New Zealand to join our book collection. Although it arrived at a time when he mostly only liked board books, he took to this one right away. It is a lovely little story about a boy who sees a lion in the meadow by his house. He alerts his mother, who gently scolds him for making up stories and plays along with him by giving him a matchbox which she says will release a dragon. He obeys, releasing a large dragon into the meadow, which frightens the lion into the house, where they become buddies.


""'That is how it is,' said the lion. 'Some stories are true, and some aren't...'"

Infant's Interest: He loves to locate the baby in the book and wave his arms frantically practicing his sign language for it. But he also enjoys the whole story.

I believe there are a number of children's picture books starring quilts, and I look forward to reading those aloud when he's ready for them. We'd love any recommendations.


claire said...

I'm happy to find you, a lover of baby books such as I! :)

Ali said...

Those quilts are amazing! My sister made me a quilt for a wedding gift (her first she ever made) and I treasure it so much.

Chris said...

Wow! I'm so impressed. You have quite the talent! I can see how it would be an all consuming activity.

Btw, I'm a yarn hoarder.

Yati said...

Oooh. Such lovely projects. I am jealous. I want to try making a real quilt, but I just can't seem to find time for it. I am most certain that I'll finish the first block and it'll be sitting in my "unfinished projects" box for months before I touch it again!

I don't quite hoard fabric like you do, but when I go through my aunt's scraps (she's a seamstress), she'll end up shaking her head at what I keep setting aside. :)

Infant Bibliophile said...

Yati...I didn't mention the many projects I have unfinished too! In quilting lingo, they're known as WIPs (works in progress), UFO's (unfinished objects), and PIGS (projects in grocery sacks - shopped for but never started). I started with something way too complicated to finish, but it was fun and got me hooked. My next project was a stocking, and that one I actually finished.

Claire - nice to see another book lover!

Ali - it's so nice to see a quilty gift being treasured. I always have these noble ambitions of making wedding gifts, but I haven't made one yet.

Chris - yay for hoarding! It's at least 1/2 the fun.

Kim said...

Lovely! I am very jealous but had to laugh at your abbreviations for projects. I have plenty of PIGS laying around my house.

Bogsider said...

Amazing! There are so many crafty bloggers out there and here I am, not knowing how to thread a needle ;o) Your designs are simply wonderful and I am really impressed with your quilting-skills!

Tasses said...

Resist the urge to start new blogs! All this crafty stuff is making me want to open another one too!!1

(fantastic quilting, btw)

Kerry said...

Love your quilts - and "The Lion in the Meadow" as well. I've made you one of my #3 links.

Kristina said...

Those are beautiful quilts!! What pretty work!

Infant Bibliophile said...

Thank you so much for all of the wonderful and encouraging comments, ladies. I think I might change the blog a bit soon to incorporate more crafty stuff, because this was so much fun!

Nicola O. said...

Oh, I love the PIGS acronym! I only have one UFO but I have about 12 PIGS! And of course, lots and lots and lots of fabric, LOL. You do beautiful work. I have a children's picturebook at home with a quilting theme but I can't remember the title. I'll try to find it for you. ;-)

Dreamybee said...

Wow, your quilts are beautiful! I particularly like the Moons Over Mountains one and the windmill one. I can't line up two pieces of fabric to save my life, so I am always amazed by people who can make all those pieces fit together. I blame it on my sewing machine. ;) The I-Spy quilt is a great idea too!

Lisa said...

I love that last quilt! Did you have to plan it out?

Infant Bibliophile said...

Sorry so long to reply. I kept trying to comment from my iphone and then remembering it won't work for some reason. The last one is a John Flynn kit (google "John Flynn windmills kit"), and it was super easy! It took less than a week of making it at night after work. The pieces come all precut. For the quilting, which probably isn't visible in the photo, I used a paper circle and just lined it up, stitched around it, moved it, stitched around it, etc. to create overlapping circles.