What kind of quilter am I?

One of the things I have been thinking about while I go through my whole what am I doing here thing… (possibly mid-life related?) …is what kind of quilter am I?

There seems to have been quite a bit about of late relating to the whole Modern Quilter v Traditional Quilter stuff. Not sure where I fit on the whole spectrum though.

Of late I have been working on the minis for the swaps, and they have fallen mostly into the modern camp. But, when it comes to things for me, or for what I tend towards when left to my own devices, I don’t actually have a preference for what kind of quilter I am. Perhaps that it is, I am a quilter and I like what I like, and I don’t like what I don’t like (kids novelty prints – can’t stand them).

If we have a bit of a look at the list of things I am working on for me…

  1. George III – from Carolyn Konig Design this is totally a reproduction job, all the browns under the sun, it challenges me and I love it. Very long term project that I need to have finished in about three years.
  2. Winter is Coming – from the Blackbird Designs book When the Cold Wind Blows all the applique, all the time. I have as long as I need for this one, it lives in a bag for me to take when I have quilt group, or I am going away for the weekend. It lives in a bag, ready to go.
  3. Happiness is – a hexagon project that is all spots and stripes in all the happy colours. I started it after the breakdown of my marriage when I needed some colour in my life. One of these days I will decide what it is that I am going to do with it. I am terrified it is going to end up being a queen sized quilt and I will never get it done. Or I could make it into a cushion.

I have a tendency to make quilts for queen sized beds, and at least one of the ones currently under construction (Winter is Coming), I have plans to make bigger than that. Limiting myself to the minis has been really good for me, I am trying different things and working towards different goals (they also have timelines… mostly my quilts can hang around forever).

But then there is the Modern Medallion – or Stargate Quilt – it is something of an anomaly. The modern quilt made with traditional fabrics. Really should quilt that one.

My life in swaps

Towards the end of last year I decided that I needed to sew more, one of the ways I have been motivating myself is to sign up for some swaps on Instagram. Fun times have ensued. Not only am I finding my groove with being creative, but I am also coming to use these as an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and work with some styles, colours and methods that I wouldn’t ordinarily do.

Take for example the first of these… the Kitten Mini Quilt Swap, run by Marni of Frankie’s Fabrics.

My swap quilt was made from Elizabeth Hartman’s “The Cat Quilt”, which I have admired for quite a while, but given my dislike for machine piecing, I have avoided like the proverbial plague. But I gave it a shot (and then promptly forgot to take a photograph of it before I sent it on its merry way… thankfully Instagram is photo based and so thanks to Melissa for the below)

Next was the Rainbow Mini Swap, run by Kate Basti. This was a whole lot of fun and I have already blogged about it here. I improvised – which I actually do quite a bit, but this time the magic worked and I was very happy with it. AND then I machine quilted it (again, something I don’t generally do) and I remained happy with it. So… two lots of surprise happy in one mini.

Enter the Spring Fling Mini Swap… which when you are participating in a Northern Hemisphere theme (spring in April), when it isn’t spring here in the south… I am not going to reveal this one yet. It is wrapped in brown paper getting ready to depart from this place to another place tomorrow. But I am over the moon with how this one turned out. Particularly the quilting – which I again did on the machine.

I have signed up for the next lot of swaps for me, and I will be writing about them in the fullness of time as well.

Because sometimes I really enjoy this whole quilting thing 🙂

Bees, Wine Eggs and Storms

Yesterday (Sunday) I went to one of the Canberra local wineries for lunch. On the drive, to the “shores” of Lake George to Lerida Estate, we stopped to take in some of the scenery.

I enjoy photography, and love the opportunity to take some photos that are usually out of my comfort zone – which yesterday meant me getting up close with some bees…

Bees, bees and storms.For Christmas a couple of years ago I bought myself a Lensbaby lens kit, which had as part of it a macro attachment. The bees came under my close scrutiny, the spider didn’t.

Being a winery there were, as expected, grapes – although in this form I prefer to think of them as wine eggs. Because hatching from the eggs will be some lovely wine in the coming years.

Bees, bees and storms.The drive home after a lovely lunch of platters (no photos, for whatever reason I have stopped taking photos of my food… go figure), there were storms in the distance, right over where Canberra is… this wasn’t a problem until I thought about the washing that was on the line.

Bees, bees and storms.
Watching the storms in the distance reminds me of home in some ways. Being able to see the storms as they come over the mountains and knowing how long it was going to be before you got rained on.

I do love the rain.

What Now?

I have been a little absent from this space… which looking back over the past few years isn’t anything new. It seems to happen with some regularity. I have another blog (actually I think I have like 5 or 6 of them to be honest) and I keep on vowing that I will write more, but the problem is that I don’t know what to write about.

When I was classroom teaching things were a bit easier in the writing stakes – my teaching blog is now possibly the most neglected space on the internet. But ironically enough, one of the things that used to get in the way of me quilting, was the amount of time and energy (physical and emotional) that teaching took.

About a year ago now I undertook the second major life change that have been through in four years. I left teaching to work at a university. I no longer have responsibility for delivering lessons in English and history to middle school students, instead I write and work with academics on the delivery of business degrees (undergraduate and postgraduate). I may head back into the classroom at some stage (I did redo my registration last week), but for the moment I am enjoying life and the improved work/life balance that this new job brings.

Which brings me to What Now?

Last week I was on Instagram (if you don’t already follow me, please do – the link is on the side), and I came across a post about what is in a craftblog name (please have a look at it here). I have not been happy with my blog name for a while, I thought that it was the name of this space that was why it was that I wasn’t posting as much as I wanted to (of late it has been that I don’t have reliable internet, but that is a rant for another blog). So I have been considering changing it.

Over the past few months I have been trying out different online identities for my quilt/craft space – I have been fishiboo (which is what I seem to be everywhere, not a name I really want to keep as it was what my now ex-husband used to call me)… portello square (after my favorite soft-drink, and it kind of reminds me of home)… and now sometimes I quilt (which kind of makes sense given that that kind of mirrors the name of this space).

I named this space originally years ago because it was a case that only sometimes I was able to quilt. Between having small children and studying that was about all I had time for, but then things changed and now I am more deliberate about how I spend my relaxation time, because quilting (and other assorted crafts) is essentially how I relax.

Perhaps I just need to think about this some more… sometimes i quilt… or is it the tagline that I need to change… because now I do more, I don’t just think about it.

Improvising my way through life

Last night I had something of an epiphany.

I had this idea bouncing about in my head for a while – I was going to make it for the Rainbow Mini-Swap. Taking the centre of the Modern Medallion (once was Two Aussie Birds, now Raspberry Spool), and changing it to be a mini and then doing a funky thing… and something (you all know how these things go…).

So I had drawn up the paper bits for the foundations a while ago, but never really had a time when “inspiration” hit. So I put my big girl pants on last night, wanting to block out some crappy everyday stuff, and I started to put it all together.

I am always quite amazed when the magic works. Oh. And I don't know what this is for.

A post shared by Katie Ley (@sometimesiquilt) on

But then something happened and without thinking, measuring or anything else that the control freak in me would ordinarily do… I improvised… and I am really quite happy with where it stands at the moment.

Well this presents an interesting dilemma… #rainbowminiswap I thought I was done… #rainbowteamPURPLE

A post shared by Katie Ley (@sometimesiquilt) on

And I am not quite sure what is going to happen next… except that I want to shop for more fabric (and that can’t be a bad thing… can it?).

Now I just need to take a leap with the thing I was avoiding by improvising this… perhaps.

Swapping quilts

A funny thing happened on the way to the quilt shop… I signed up for a swap on Instagram, and then another swap on Instagram.

First, there was this one…

I have always loved my cats, and while I don’t have one at the moment (sometimes rentals suck), I am just about to move and perhaps I will be able to get a fur baby again… I do miss being able to snuggle up with a little one. Sometimes I am able to snuggle up with Milo, a fur baby belonging to family.

My company for the day #catsofinstagram

A post shared by Katie Ley (@sometimesiquilt) on

Then there is this swap – a rainbow swap

Yes. So this is a thing. I am in my first swap 🙂 #rainbowteampurple #rainbowminiswap

A post shared by Katie Ley (@sometimesiquilt) on

I have been looking for something to get my sewjo back. I think this may do it.