October- a guest post

Today, I would like to introduce Sara Bartosiewicz-Hamilton. Sara started FLAT & Fabulous with Barbie Ritzco and I quickly joined the group, I find the group to a balm and a relief. Sara is an amazing woman, focused, direct, compassionate. I stand in awe of what she has been able to accomplish and I hold her spirit in loving grace as she attends her best friend, my hero’s, funeral this week.

Without further ado, here is Sara’s guest post:


 

Beautiful fall day in October
 
Back in the day, October meant fall was in full swing – full of beautiful colors, the leaves in Michigan changing from green to red, orange, and yellow. The fun surrounding Halloween, picking apples at the orchard, and fresh cider on hayrides. And pulling out our sweaters and getting cozy by bonfires.

October means something much different now. It is a month where the entire world focuses on breast cancer “awareness”. I would like to meet the person who is not aware of breast cancer.

It was in the fall of 2006, I found out that I have the BRCA2 mutation. I was told at 29 that I didn’t need to do anything about this. I begged to differ. I told the genetic counselor (term used very loosely as this was not a trained genetic counselor but a nurse tasked to deal with those of us who were being genetically tested in the local cancer center) to set me up with whomever I needed to talk to about a prophylactic mastectomy. And, truthfully, I thought my mastectomy would let me walk away from cancer and having to “deal” with it. I thought I would be free from the fear that I grew up with and I thought my family and I would saunter on with life, never giving cancer a second thought.ever.again.

The reality is the fear didn’t “disappear”. Eventually I had a prophylactic oopherectomy/hysterectomy at the advice of my oncological gynecologist. Afterwards, I came to the realization I had done what I could to prevent cancer – the rest is out of my hands. I can still develop breast cancer. I can still develop ovarian cancer. Because of the BRCA2 mutation, there are other cancers I am at higher risk of developing, some of which my family has a history of. I choose not to let fear rule my life and simply live life with the knowledge I must continue to be vigilant about my health and teach my children to make their health a priority.

From the beginning, I made a very conscious decision to be open about my journey – I shared in great detail in my blog and in various formats. Back in 2006, I couldn’t find other young women walking the path I did. It was isolating and trying to get support from people who had no understanding of what I was dealing with was disappointing. I was determined to leave a mark so that those coming behind wouldn’t face the same loneliness and despair I had felt. That determination is what led me to posing for The SCAR Project and, subsequently, becoming part of a sisterhood that has truly changed me in countless ways.

One of my SCAR sisters would become my best friend. I met Barbie Ritzco shortly after she posed for David Jay. She and I started working together on The SCAR Project and, a month after I chose to have my reconstruction extracted, we created FLAT & Fabulous. We wanted to create a safe place for those of us living without reconstruction after mastectomy. We envisioned a new sisterhood which would focus on empowerment and living life to its fullest, moving away from cancer and focusing on how to live the best version of ourselves. It was intoxicating as our membership grew – we only expected a handful of women we already knew. We were excited to welcome our fellow FLAT & Fabulous sisters! We noticed women we knew in other forums joined us – they had been quiet about their reality, thinking they were the only woman living without reconstruction – it caused us to realize we may not truly know how many women have been “hiding”, thinking they were alone. And as we worked to get our group out there, we heard from new members again and again I thought I was the only one.

I vividly remember the day. One of our original members happened to read a meme. Within the meme, a reference so small that it was surely missed by many but, to someone living without reconstruction, it was profound. It hinted that perhaps women choosing not to have reconstruction after mastectomy were actually in the majority. That was a game changer. While I truly support each woman making the choices right for her in her journey, the knowledge that those who choose not to have reconstruction are in the majority is mind blowing.

Barbie in front of her SCAR Project photo

I consider myself “lucky” – I have a few SCAR sisters who were living without reconstruction. I was able to talk with one before my extraction. She calmed my fears and reassured me I would be okay. Many women are given the perception that they are the only woman choosing not to reconstruct. Imagine that. Imagine thinking you are the only person in the world choosing to live a certain way. A way that is in direct conflict with the cultural expectations and confines of beauty. Choosing to do something that no one in your support groups or forums talks about – in fact, they intensely focus on the exact opposite. I am humbled by the courage and strength it took for these women to make this choice – especially as I hear the many stories of doctors refusing to perform mastectomy without reconstruction until they are psychologically evaluated, as if the only way they would make this choice is if they are mentally unstable.

Eventually, we opened a fan page – we realized that while we wanted to have a place for those living without reconstruction to find support, we also wanted to extend the message of empowerment and self-love to the masses. In addition, we use the platform to educate those around us about the choice to live without reconstruction.

This October is bittersweet. My partner, co-founder and best friend Barbie passed away at the end of September. The last conversation we had, I told her about the new website I was working on with a panel of Flat & FABulous sisters and our annual virtual 5K that we are dedicating to her and have even gotten medals for (Barbie LOVED her medals!). I would give anything to have her here to join in the celebration. I miss her and the partnership we had – incredibly unique and irreplaceable. I know she is shocked and proud of all that we have accomplished – she always was and always will be our biggest cheerleader.

Over the years, my perspective of October has changed. From appreciating the beauty of the fall to being annoyed and frustrated by the commercialization of pink. I have decided to take back the month, take back pink – if I am being pigeon holed as a “breast cancer” writer, I am going to make sure I get mileage out of the one month news outlets are interested. If the entire world is focused on breast cancer right now, I will raise my voice so others hear about the need for more research, accepting awareness has been achieved. My metastatic sisters who are literally dying. I will remind others, and kick myself in the pants, to be proactive – perform self-breast exams, stay on top of screening, discuss with your relatives your family history of cancer.

It’s okay to like pink – just be sure you understand that most of your dollars aren’t making it to an organization and, when it does, it probably isn’t being used for research to find a cure. It’s okay to hate pink – I understand your frustration. I encourage you to step beyond the pink – whatever side of the color you are on. Look at what is truly happening in the realm of breast cancer. Take a look at The SCAR Project to see what cancer is and that it doesn’t care about age or gender, read the stories of my SCAR sisters who have died – JoleneVanessaDarcie, and my best friend Barbie to realize cancer kills – it is not pink, it isn’t a ribbon. Don’t let this month paralyze you with anger or trick you into thinking if you buy a pink ribbon we are that much closer. Embrace each other, support each other and don’t take for granted a single breath you have been given.

always in my heart & on my mind, my bfffff

This week, I will be at Arlington National Cemetery, at the funeral for Barbie. I will be pondering her ultimate sacrifice for our country, grieving the loss I feel a million different ways and, ultimately, return to gratitude. Thankful for who she was, thankful for the impact she has had and continues to be, and thankful to have had such an amazing partner and best friend.

October is just a month. Pink is just a color. Live Sincerely. Be the best version of you. Be.fabulous.

Gathering, an introspection.

MellyTEyeHeart1

When sewing on the go, it is necessary to have a project bag. This bag, for me, serves a function. It serves as a place to embroidery reminders, occurrences, important dates, I love a project bag! It should be -just- big enough for a project, and a few choice supplies.

MellyTEyeHeart2

The Gather your Sew-plies purse ought to contain, a thimble, a small array of hand and embroidery needles, an embroidery scissor, spool of sewing thread-I love Aurifil, each of my Gather your Sew-plies purses are kitted with it. The #12 cotton?? A gorgeous hand sewing and embroidery thread. Capital -L- Like.

And it dyes beautifully!!!

MellyTProjectBag1

Ok. Here is a debate that rolls around in my head. I like the Pilot Frixion Ball Erasable Black Gel Ink Pens for their immediacy, and when embroidering words onto cloth, it imparts a realistic look. But. 

Ok, wait.

The Frixion Pen can be ironed, which ‘erases’ the original mark.

BUT!!!

With cold, the mark will return. Cold as in, stored for an extended period in color storage or left on a metal tabletop over a few days time. I do not know if washing the item will have an effect in either direction, further study is needed.

But, I am using it in the meantime. It has advantages that I appreciate.

MellyTRosesGySew-plies

 More to come on the Gather your Sew-plies Sew-along!!

And expect a Paris romp o photos! The graffiti? Awesome.

My hopes versus my ability.

OK. I am committed to blogging more often than I have in the recent past. I have so many projects I am progressing forward. I love every moment. This is very exciting. But, honestly, I don’t have the ability to work as quickly as I used to. I have a video in process related to the Gather your Sew-plies sew-along but I am unable to complete it. I can’t complain, because I am going to be dress shopping in Paris soon. 

GyS!!Basted

What I plan to do is ‘sew as I go’, with my Gather your Sew-plies purses in Paris. I will be working a series I am now calling, 1 in 8. I am going to Wordless Post, if you understand my meaning. Photos only. No words. But sewing, every step of the way. Embroidering.

Please join me.

This will be fun.

And in the meantime, keep coming back. I will speak with you through the comment function here on the blog. Check back. I am ready to be more present in our artistic community.

Hi!! It has taken a while!

You should see!

Blogging? I forgot how to use the software!! LOL.

So. It is a welcomed but creaky start.

Talk about chemobrain!!

In the meantime, watch this video featuring Gail Chovan:

 

My journey to finding support: FLAT & Fabulous!

BreastPocketPattern

When you go through a major life event, like breast cancer, you know how important support is. Breast cancer is a body altering disease. You might choose reconstruction or not, but the truth of the matter is, it is beneficial to hear the words of other women who have gone though similar experiences. It is helpful to see images of women who have made similar choices. It helps to connect with others and to know you are not alone. What follows is a telling of my journey in finding support.

Early in my ‘flat journey’ I started to wonder, if the percentages I was reading were correct in stating 40-60% of women forego reconstructing their bodies. If this percentage was correct, why had I never knowingly met a flat or half flat woman? Is the fact that I have never knowingly met a half/flattie telling me something? Am I strange for wanting to simply embrace my flat new form without embracing the use of breast forms? If breast cancer survivors are so celebrated, why haven’t I seen any sexy, inciting or strong images of breastless women in the media?

Am I being told to cover up and fit in?

Do I care to?


I began scouring the web for my breastless sisters in scars. At first, there were hardly any or they were hard to track down (there are many more now and over the course of the month, I will highlight some of them). I continually visited Sentenced2Live‘s Flickr stream. I found Deborah Lattimore. Then Jennifer’s blog, No F***ing Pink Ribbons and I waited with baited breath for each post (she no longer posts). My main form of support at that time was a major online breast cancer forum. I would visit the ‘Living without Reconstruction’ forum.

That name always made me feel like I ought to be sad and pining for the’ better life’ with reconstruction. Focused, as it is, on the act of reconstruction or living without it, as the case may be.

I started a thread within that forum along the lines of: ‘I look for other flat chested women, a rant!’ 

In that thread, I said: 

I know many of you wear prosthesis, so I probably wouldn’t be able to see or ‘know’, but. I look for you. I want to see you. I want to form a union, lol. I wish it were even more accepted, acceptable to be flat. To not wear prosthesis, not feel the need to, to opt out of reconstruction-if that is your choice. I do hope that women who see me, flat as can be, see there are options, that reconstruction isn’t par for the course. I want to make flat beautiful, sexy, stylish. Normal. And it is normal for me, is becoming normal, but I am talking about society, norms and expectations. Breast cancer is not about ‘boob jobs’. Yes, many of us opt for them, want and need them. But it is also about choosing to be flat.  

That thread is now 118 pages long. We are gathering! Support is important.

About a year later, just when I really needed to put cancer into a smaller box, I was asked to join FLAT & Fabulous (Phew! Just in time), which was just a private Facebook page at the time. Finding this group helped me to back away from the major breast cancer support site and it introduced me to women like myself who were beginning to live life without breasts. We share photos, we talk treatment options, we do fashion hauls, some women talk about breast forms and pretty bras. You know, daily talk of whatever needs talking about.

FLAT & Fabulous covers a lot of bodily territories. Many of the members of this group wear breast forms, prosthesis, knitted knockers, some change out the size daily, by whim and outfit. Some had failed reconstruction, some deconstructed. Many, have a single breast. Many have bilaterally flat chests. Many do not wear breast shapes at all. That includes Me!! :-) Some had mastectomy as a result of gene testing.

All are considered flat.

It felt, and feels, so good to have this group as support. I am indebted to Sara and Barbie. The group came to me just in time! I am now surrounded by many, brave, courageous and beautiful women, who for whatever reason, find themselves, “Living without Reconstruction”.

And now, FLAT & Fabulous has a web presence! The founders, Sara and Barbie believe, no woman should proceed on this journey alone. Amen sisters! Thank goodness.


If you follow me on Facebook, you may know that breast cancer took Barbie from us last Friday, September 26. I am really sorry to introduce Barbie to you posthumously. Barbie is/was amazing, she set a beautiful example, she lived fully, her beautiful life force shown forth in every photo I have seen. I was never able to meet Barbie in person, but she has effected me so deeply, that I am forever changed. Barbie is/was an inspirational force to be reckoned with. We will all miss her dearly and stand in awe of her work and life.

Check out this post about her Scar Project photo.

Barbie was a Marine, a sister, a daughter and a hero. My hero. 

Thank you, Barbie. And thank you, Sara. I am sorry for the loss of your best friend. My sympathy goes out to the Ritzco family, I can only imagine their loss.

Barbie loved running marathons. Her online moniker was ‘Marathon Barbie’. The first year on the FLAT & Fabulous support board, Barbie and Sara both, encouraged us to do a 5K.

I have never been a runner, I wasn’t interested.

This year, FLAT & Fabulous is sponsoring a 5K in Barbie’s honor and I am doing it, better yet, WE are doing it (my Man and I) this coming November 7. Maybe you will too! It is virtual. You can do it anywhere. You can walk it or run it, wheel it or peg leg it.  David and I will be walking it. You might consider donating to FLAT & Fabulous in Barbie’s name.  Or sign up to do it yourself!

Please, at the very least, consider donating to the group. There are great things planned for the site and every last penny is appreciated. I also think it is the first group of it’s kind.


Phew, wow! Glad you are still here. I know this is a long post, they won’t all be like this. It’s just, I had to talk about Barbie, FLAT & Fabulous, and the 5K all at once. I will come around to talking about Breast Pockets soon. 

 

Breast Cancer Awareness?

Today begins Breast Cancer Awareness month. 

This is a small work, I am stitching on currently. I am learning needle turn. I am not very good yet, but I bit off a large portion and am getting better at it, as a result. I am moving into our tiny apartment, looking for space solutions that fit our favorite activities and furniture. Now it has come down to specifics. I love space organization, so you might hear the glee in my voice as I type these words.

Anyway. Breast cancer awareness.

You may know that there is a challenge out there, in the ethers…

A Quilting Arts Readers Challenge, to be exact.  

I am going to begin a discussion on Going Flat. Much of my discussion will revolve around creating breast pockets and embroidering these small feminine works, as you see above. I hope you will join me, in discussion within the comments section of each post (check back, OK?)

OR join me in a Gather your Sew-plies, Sew a-Long!

Or both.

Please help me get back in the swing of blogging and investing in my virtual community, you! 

Let the Sew-along begin.

photo 2

Above you see a quilt sandwich, a scissor pocket and two tabs which will hold the strap in place. We will be making a quilt sandwich that is big enough to cut all of these pieces, in addition to a thimble pocket.

The pattern in Quilting Arts Holiday magazine states to cut your quilt sandwich to 6″ wide. I have made many of these purses, some that start with a quilted sandwich, some that don’t. I find that the batting in the quilted Gather your Sewplies!! purses takes up a bit of ‘room’. You may want to use flannel rather than batting for this reason-or choose to forgo batting altogether.

If you choose to use batting, I would suggest adding a half inch to the width of the pattern.

This week, your task is to piece, batt, back, baste and machine quilt a quiltlet utilizing the information I have presented in this post. 

photo 3

Here you see the start of my mini quilt. I have not added batting yet. The striped rose pattern peeking out will be the backing of this mini quilt. I have placed a rose print at what will become the center front of the purse and have used a pink floral print at the bottom of the quiltlet, this will become the flap that will securely close the purse. 

GyS!!Start

SEW! 

I made the executive decision to forego batting in this version of the purse. What you see here is the purse body, where I brought some of the 1940’s vintage stripe to the front of the quilt sandwich. This sandwich consists of the backing, the top and several rows of machine stitching using free rayon embroidery thread. To the right are two tabs to hold the strapping, which is also pictured. The additional piece of vine fabric will be used for a zipper pocket.

This week your task is to make a quilt sandwich, a top, batting and a back, or follow my lead an create some made cloth. Next week, we will make the spaghetti straps, place the tabs, fold the pattern properly and sew it closed. Stay tuned.


 

A reminder: Here is a link to the magazine, if you don’t have a copy already. I will reference the magazine article throughout this sew-along, though I cannot post the pattern or send you a copy. You must purchase the magazine in order to sew-along with us.

Here are links to previous blog posts related to the sew-along:

The announcement

The tools you may need

Please excuse my camera and color issues. I have been away from blogging for so long that I need to catch up with myself and the technology. 

Gather your Sew-plies!! sew-along.

GatheryourSew-plies

I am so happy that there has been interest shown in having a Gather your Sew-plies!! sew-along. I love making and using these little purses. I find them to be incredibly useful. 

To tell you the back story, if you own a copy of Inspired to Quilt  you will find a pattern for a sewing holster. For years, I used a sewing holster, which is a finished strip of quilted fabric with pockets that could be draped around the neck. The sewing holster worked, but presented problems. If the objects stored in the pockets were not balanced, the holster would pull heavily to one side. When getting up and down, I would need to hold the holster in place. You get the idea. A few years back, I decided to work on the pattern and see if I could correct the imbalances. 

The Gather your Sew-plies purse was born. At first, this purse had several pieces, the main pouch, a scissor pocket, a thimble pocket, a flap closure, a strap tab and strap. When I started thinking about making a pattern for Quilting Arts Gifts, I decided to simplify the purse as much as possible. The Quilting Arts Holiday version of the pattern works almost like the plastic sandwich bags that have a flip top closure. This turns out to be quite sturdy manner to close the bag, leaving no open areas where your trusty sewing thimble might otherwise escape. I removed the thimble pocket entirely, though during the sew-along, I will go through the steps you need to create one. 

One of the things I like about the old pattern with the flap closure was the fact that I began covering earth magnets with cloth in order to securely close the flap closure. That is a dandy method of closure and I will talk about that during the sew-along as well.

I have come to think of my varied collection of Gather your Sew-plies purses as an art collection! I hope one day to have 30 of these bags, because it is nice to make one, but when you make 30, it definitely becomes Art. Or at least a showing of obsessive compulsive glee. I don’t know which. 

So, let’s get started. First, you will need a copy of the magazine, please use this link if you intend to purchase a copy. Using that link will help Quilting Arts track how many copies are sold through my web site. I do not make money from this. As the pattern is copyrighted, I cannot post or email a copy of the pattern to you. I can expand upon what has been published in the magazine, which is what I intend to do during the sew-along. 

Beside the magazine itself, you may need a 3/8th inch 3/8″ release clasp buckle, I have come to love these buckles, they pleasingly clip and pop open. I bought many of them, because I apparently need at least 30 of these purses. But. I must say, finding a notion or solution to finishing your purse without this buckle will be a worthy adventure. I am sure we can find some interesting ways to enable you not to purchase the release clasps, if you do not want to purchase them.

Another notion you will need is a Loop Turner . That link shows the loop turner that I use. I am not ‘married’ to this loop turner and if you know of another turner that might work better than this one, I would like to know about it. The thing that holds me back from unequivocal love is the fact that we will need upwards of 70″ of spaghetti strapping to make the straps for this purse. 70″ of bias tubing does not fit on this loop turner, so I make my loops in two pieces and join them after turning them. So post a comment if you have a better tool for the task.

Beside the above items, I bet you have all of the necessary fabrics and notions to make the purse. Because some of you may need to purchase a few items, I think we might start this along in a few weeks time. I am working on the posts related to the -along right now. I will let you know just how I plan to present the info quite soon. I am thinking several posts over the course of a week might do it, though weekly posts might be nice too. Your thoughts?

Leave some comments and help me get back into the swing of blogging! Please?

Gather your Sew-plies, Quilting Arts Holiday edition.

I am happy to have published in the Quilting Arts Holiday gifts issue, which showcases my Gather your Sew-plies purse. 

 This sewing purse is the Bee Knees, if you ask me. These purses were designed with movement in mind. The bag itself embraces a reverse pack pack styling, so, it sits at the front of your body, safe and secure, as you move around your sewing studio.

Sew-plies1

The pattern in Quilting Arts Holiday has directions for a scissor pocket, though you need not stop there! As you can see, I have also included a tiny pocket to hold my thimble.  

Sew-plies2

Sometimes the purses themselves become a canvas on which to stitch and embroider.

Sew-plies3

And sometimes I include fancy bits of fabric in the lining. I have also been known to clip rounded bits of plastic from milk bottles and juice containers to tuck into the scissor pocket-which protects the fabric from being punctured by my embroidery scissors.

Sew-plies4

See? You can even swing while ready to sew. 

All in all, I can’t live without these little functional bits of beauty. So far, I have made about 15 of these purses, each has thread, embroidery floss, some Thread Heaven  (An Amazon link, I LOVE Thread Heaven as a thread ‘conditioner’), and the pattern has evolved over time. Sometimes I make them with flaps as you see in the above photos, sometimes I make them with a fold of fabric that flips over and closes the purse (this is the pattern that Quilting Arts Holiday has published). I also like to thread string through the bias straps, which strengthens them.

I would love to have a Gather your Sew-plies sew along if you are interested!?? Please post a comment below and tell me know if you would like to do this. You will need to purchase the magazine to access the pattern, but I have many additional ideas and notions that will make this quite the fun sew-along. 

Check out these other posts on the blog hop too!

Friday, September 12, Vivika Hansen DeNegre, http://quiltingdaily.com/

Saturday, September 13, Lyric Kinard, http://lyrickinard.com/blog/

Sunday, September 14, Claude Larson, http://randomactsofpiece.blogspot.com/

Monday, September 15, Linda McLaughlin, http://notesfromstudiob.blogspot.com/ 

and Kathy Kerstetter, http://artndl.blogspot.com

Tuesday, September 16, Lori Miller, http://lorimillerdesigns.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, September 17, Melanie Testa, http://melanietesta.com/blog/,

and Liz Kettle, http://www.textileevolution.com/index.php/our-journey

Thursday, September 18, Susan Brubaker Knapp, http://wwwbluemoonriver.blogspot.com/

Friday, September 19, Lisa Chin, http://somethingcleveraboutnothing.blogspot.com/

Saturday, September 20, Sarah Ann Smith, http://www.sarahannsmith.com/weblog

Sunday, September 21, Catherine Redford, http://catherineredford.com/

 

 

big sigh of relief.

Let me tell you, it feels good to be printing for no one but myself. It feels good not to be working under a deadline. It feels good to take a break in the middle of the day and feel no guilt what-so-ever. It feels good to leave the house. It feels good to write a blog post. I have been busy. I miss the commeraderie and interaction that blogging provides. I miss saying, ‘Hey, this is what I am up to.’

Big deep sigh.

MellyforGenQ

 

I am happy to say, I have a few articles available through our favorite quilting magazines-I will be posting about two others later in the week.

This quilt was featured in Gen Q magazine. I love this quilt, as I dyed, surface designed and printed every piece of fabric within it. This quilt taught me to cut into and use my own hand printed cloth (again-this seems to be a lesson that I need to relearn periodically).

In my ideal world, I would not have a stash of fabric, though I do. I continue to whittle it down, as was my intention when I made this quilt. But, I do not like the concept of stashing, I would much rather know what I have on hand and use it before hand printing and storing, additional goods. For many years, I printed cloth, in loose repeat, using a plethora of techniques and tools, all of this cloth has been stored in the cabinets you see behind my workbench and in some other boxes not photographed for this post.

Rather than use the cloth, I immersed myself in learning other techniques, and I moved the cloth from one house or apartment to another. I would take the cloth out, now and again, and sift through it, wondering what I might do with it. I don’t know where the disconnect lay. Perhaps I felt, that because I designed the tools to print with, printed the cloth, washed and admired it, it was ‘too good to be cut into’. But if this is the theory, then that says that I am unsure I can print more cloth that will satisfy me as much.

And I know this is not the case.

So, I have begun whittling down my stash of hand printed cloth, making quilts with it, and then printing more cloth. This is purposeful. This suits my intentions and space needs much better!

I hope you like the quilt too.

 

American Patchwork & Quilting ((Podcast))

1 APQPodCastBlogButtonsGuest250

I am really happy to say that Pat Sloan and American Patchwork & Quilting did an interview of me to discuss Meadowlark and some upcoming projects. I would love for you to listen to this podcast as you are able. You can subscribe by itunes (search American Patchwork & Quilting) if you weren’t able to listen to it live, and please check out Pat’s post on her personal blog here.

This was a 12 minute interview and boy do 12 minutes go by quickly. Because of this, I have decided to upload and answer some of the other questions that Pat might have asked me if there was time to do so.


 

Pat Sloan wanted to ask: Your fabric line Meadowlark is very painterly and is your signature style.. I love it! How did you develop the fabric line? (explain your motivation with the Audubon list of birds in Decline)

My line is named after the Eastern Meadowlark found within the bird print in the line. I have always been enamored of birds and when I found the Audubon list of Common Birds in Decline, I knew I needed to add my voice to those seeking to help save the birds and bring light to how to manage the habitat that supports them. The Eastern Meadowlark needs prairie grassland to lay eggs and nest. Smart management of both public and privately owned grass fields can really help. Mowing these fields in late August will allow Meadowlarks the time they need to help their babies jump the coop.

Pat Sloan wanted to ask: Did you have to narrow down the colors, or did that happen naturally?

After I shopped my portfolio at Market and was taken on by Windham fabrics, the folks at Windham chose the designs they wanted and asked if I might tighten up my printing and color choices. I thought about this for a while and decided the only way to proceed was to print a whole new group. I chose a new palette, mixed my dyes and printed a tighter, cleaner, more cohesive group of prints. At that point I thought I was finished. I met with the folks at Windham again and was asked to please print some tone on tone or semi-solids. And again, I went home, and printed more cloth. 

As you can tell, I went through a bit of a learning curve with this whole process. I trust my next line will be much easier to create, print, and submit to Windham because of this.

Pat Sloan wanted to ask: What is your favorite project you’ve made (or seen made) with your fabric so far?

Well, while you can see images of the projects on the Windham website (I can’t link directly for technical reasons), I love the quilt called Lark Star, designed and made by Stephanie Forsyth. I am happier still to be able to say, this quilt is being written up for an upcoming McCall’s Quilting. But this really isn’t a fair question. Many of my friends and sample makers made awesome work and several of them have been taken on for editorial placement in out favorite quilting magazines, Generation Q, Modern Patchwork, McCall’s Quilting and Fons and Porters Easy Quilt, and Quilting Arts too.

I feel blessed.

Pat Sloan wanted to ask: I’d love to know what style quilts  you drawn to?

The pretty ones!

I love modern quilting, which is so clean and crisp, but the textile designer in me balks at too much solid, unpatterned cloth. Because I like designing and printing patterns, when I begin to make my own quilts, I want to use lots and lots of patterned cloth. 

Recently an editor at a favorite magazine said that my quilts are contemporary. As a result, I have been researching what this means and how my quilts might fit into this category. I feel like the doors are wide open for me at the moment. I considered myself an art quilter for so long that now that my sites have swung back to my more traditional roots, the quilt world has become my oyster!


I hope you enjoy the podcast and my additions to the content. Please let me know what you think in the comments.