#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 craftconn.com, keepsakequilting.com, and fatquartershop.com.
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.