2016 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop

2016 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop

The Sewcial Network2016 Quilt BloggersEarlier this year, I joined a group called the 2016 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop. The criteria for joining included being a new quilt blogger. At the time of my application I was still deciding on my website design and content, so I was definitely new! Fortunately the organizers had faith in me and accepted my application. We new bloggers were divided into four groups and assigned a week to talk about ourselves and our quilting and sewing, and this is my week.

Selfie June 2016
That’s me.

The Blog Hop has been great. It’s how I met Amanda Ward of Gypsy Moon Quilt Co. — she was my first interviewee for The Concerned Craft! You’ll find the links to all the other quilters’ blogs below.

I’m from the US but a few years ago, I moved to Europe to live with my husband. We’re in Germany – so now you know why my blog is available in English and German! – but we’re planning to move to Ireland soon.
I’ve been sewing since Christmas 2008, when my boyfriend bought me a sewing machine. By that New Year’s Eve I had sewn a bathrobe, an apron, a short sleeve button up shirt, and a pair of trouser shorts.

 

Quilting entered my life after I bought my second machine at the end of 2014. I had a lot of fond memories of the quilts my grandmother would make for everyone in our family. It really appealed to me as a craft where I could express myself and create functional items like the ones my grandmother made. The machine (a Janome Horizon 7700) had all the right functions for piecing and free-motion quilting, so I decided to give it a try.

My first quilt was made for our friends’ child, who was turning 4. At the time, he liked to sing a song that went “Wer hat Angst vor Dracula?” (“Who’s afraid of Dracula?”), which I thought was super adorable. He clearly wasn’t afraid: he was utterly unfazed no matter how hard I tried to convince him that I am actually Dracula! Anyway, I went with the gothic lit monster theme and made him a Frankenstein quilt. Being that it was my first quilt, it was a good thing it was for a 4 year old.

My second quilt was also wisely gifted — I gave it to my mother. Who else would be so accepting of the tucks and crooked seams? Her quilt was based on a pattern from Modern One-Block Quilts by Natalia Bonner and Kathleen Jasperson Whiting, and it was a lot of fun to make. I used my Janome and quilting templates from Westalee for the quilting. My goal was to have it finished by the time she came to visit last Christmas, but I had to ask a family friend for some help with the binding. I started at one end and she at the other and in an afternoon we were done and left with a finished quilt and many fond memories.

Since then I have made my own take on Christa Watson’s “Modern X” quilt (which hasn’t been quilted yet) and an original design called “I’m OK”, which was made one block per day through the month of April, with each block using different techniques. I’m finishing “I’m OK” with hand quilting. It’s my first time hand quilting, so I’m not sure how it will come out, but I do plan on submitting it for QuiltCon 2017, just for the experience.

After watching a documentary called The True Cost I started to question what I could do to lessen my impact on the world. Most quilters, myself included, enjoy a privilege — even if that is just the privilege of time for a craft — that we can wield in a way to lessen the suffering of the world around us. My main goal with The Concerned Craft is to raise awareness about the environmental and social impact of our fiber crafts.

Further digging lead me to the blog My Plastic-Free Life and the work of Beth Terry, which has inspired personal changes outside of my fiber crafts. I plan on documenting that journey separately in a blog called The Concerned Life in the near future.

In addition to quilting I also enjoy knitting, crocheting, counted cross stitch, weaving, fashion design, and pattern drafting, and in every case, I’m taking the time to see how I can make changes to ensure that I’m being ethical, environmental and engaged as I create.

The Concerned Life
Advice

My advice to quilt bloggers (as a seasoned blogger of two months…) is to set a schedule for yourself. I aim to upload new content every Wednesday, and even though it may cause me a bit of stress from time to time, I do better knowing there’s a goal.

My advice to quilters would be to give up on perfectionism. Perfectionism is an ego-driven pursuit of outside approval. That approval stops being relevant when you realize that you are good enough already, no approval needed.

Interesting facts

  • I have a degree in anthropology
  • I have been a vegetarian for 18 years
  • I used to be a designer and maker of latex fetish clothes
  • I was a drag queen for three years
  • I have a rare genetic form of osteoporosis that I discovered after fracturing two vertebrae last yearast year

Fellow Blog Hoppers

Thank you so much to the organizers of the Blog Hop, Yvonne from Quilting JetGirl, Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs, and Stephanie at Late Night Quilter. They have some great giveaways going on over at their blogs so be sure to check those out.

Also, please check out the other quilters scheduled for this week:

Jennifer @ Dizzy Quilter
Mary @ Made By Marney
Amanda @ Quiltologie

And if you’re looking to discover other great new quilt bloggers, here’s a list of the quilters from the past three weeks who participated in the Blog Hop:

Amanda @ Gypsy Moon Quilt Co.
Paige @ Quilted Blooms
Tish @ Tish’s Adventures in Wonderland
Melva @ Melva Loves Scraps
Carrie @ Beri Bee Designs
Carole @ Carole Lyles Shaw
Anne @ Said with Love
Beth @ Plaid and Paisley
Jennifer @ RV Quilting
Sharon @ Yellow Cat Quilt Designs
Amanda @ This Mom Quilts
Laurel @ Quilts by Laurel
Marla @ Penny Lane Quilts


Do you now or have you ever used organic fabric or fibers in your fiber crafts?
If not, what has been the reason (availability, cost, etc.)?
Considering your current practices, what do you think is one way you would be willing to reduce your impact on the world?

44 thoughts on “2016 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop

  1. I’m so glad that you found the New Quilt Bloggers blog hop, Seven, and that it was helpful to propel you to get your blog started. I enjoy your voice and perspective, and as you know I love getting to know more about each individual and the background about what started them sewing / quilting / crafting. Family tradition and memories around quilting seem to be so strong. I also love how fearless you were with quilting – you even knew what free motion quilting was! I seriously started with just piecing together tops and either tying the quilt for a finish or sending them off to a long arm quilter; I had no idea that I could quilt my own quilts on a domestic machine for years and years, but I guess that was my family history and legacy! 🙂

    I find great pleasure and joy when I do use organic fibers in my projects, and it is exciting to see more and more companies offering organic cotton as an option. One of my *favorite* battings to use is Quilter’s Dream Dream Green, because it is made from recycled plastic bottles. I also like Dream Orient as it has bamboo in it and I feel that bamboo is a very renewable resource. In fact, those are pretty much the only battings that I use in my quilts. I bet there are better / more green / eco friendly options out there, and I look forward to you highlighting some of them in the future!

    1. Thanks Yvonne! I tend to be an “I’m doing it ALL myself!!” kind of person – for better or worse. 😉

      I love Quilter’s Dream batting as well, however I can’t share you enthusiasm for bamboo. The marketing of it as an eco-fiber has been very misleading. Check out my blog post about it here if you’d like to learn more about the viscose process.

      I really have enjoyed the blog hop and being exposed to the variety of quilters out there. I have found myself surprised by really enjoying some quilt styles that I wouldn’t have imagined myself liking as much. I keep promising myself that I will go back through the Facebook page and read all of the interesting advice that I may have missed – there was so much! For someone who is never on FB it all kind of passed me by, (lol) but I know it’s there for a rainy day. 🙂

      Thanks again for all you and your co-organizers have done and expect a hug (if you’re a hug person) at QuiltCon 2017 (if you’ll be there…). 🙂

  2. Your version of Modern X is amazing!! Now I can’t wait to see it quilted 🙂

  3. I bought some of my first organic fabric recently (maze and vale) and it is lovely. I haven’t found the right project to use it in just yet… it is sitting on my shelf looking at me…. reminding me to pick something good!
    It is harder to find organic and ethical items for our craft… I enjoyed reading your resources section! And so great to find a few that are here in Australia! (I drool over Ink and Spindle’s fabrics ALL the time!)
    Keep pricking our conscience Seven! Keep reminding us that there are better ways to do things.
    And I LOVE your woven fabric and what you have made out of it 🙂 🙂

    1. Thanks Anne! Actually there are quite a few people in Australia who focus on organic materials and plastic-free living.
      Thanks for your support and I can’t wait to see what you make with your Maze and Vale! 🙂

  4. Hi Seven I’m impressed with your sewing abilities! I have only one piece of organic cotton so far. Serendipitously we are having a “lunch and learn” lecture from someone about plastic free living soon at my workplace. You have inspired me to look further into it. Just the promotion of this event has prompted me to invest in some produce bags, so I expect to make other changes once I’ve attended.

  5. Lisa

    Hi Seven: It’s great to get to know you. I have been attempting to live a life that is sensitive to the environment for more than 30 years, in some ways successful in others not. I have always had some misgivings about the way I accumulate fabric and also the environmental impact that growing cotton and dyeing cotton have on the world. Sometimes I feel like none of my real life quilting friends share this concern as many of them come from a fairly conservative background.
    I love reading Yvonne’s blog because it makes me think and I’m happy to read along with you because I am sure that you will make me think as well.

  6. HI Seven! You are fearless! Quite a list of sewing and quilting accomplishments you have! I’m always on the lookout for fabrics to recycle from thrift store finds.

  7. I really enjoyed reading about you. I loved the story you shared about gifting your mom a quilt. Yes, moms cherish them, even if they are not perfect. I like your Modern X quilt as well. I do love handquilting. It just takes a long time.

  8. I love my Janome 7700 to! It does everything I want..well everything except clean house for me. Oh well,cannot have everything. I have not sewn organic…availability comes to mind. Where do I find it in the Midwest USA? Oh…and your first quilt is fabulous!

    1. Hi Sharon! There are a number of organic cotton fabric suppliers in the US. Two of the most widely available and popular being Birch Fabrics and Cloud 9 Fabrics.

      For more links to suppliers of organic fabric, check out my Resources page titled Quilting/Fabric.

      It would be great to hear how you do! Happy hunting!

  9. I enjoyed seeing a lot of your crafting projects, and especially liked your weaving. It would be great to see your I’m OK quilt in person. Maybe that will happen at QuiltCon! I’ve been quilting for over 20 years and have quite a bit of fabric in my stash, so I am trying to buy very little new fabric. However, I dye much of my own fabric and I use chemical dyes because I love the bright saturated colors. Lately I’ve thought about trying natural dyes, we’ll see what happens there. I’ve also been making items from discarded and thrifted fabric, and I quite like that process, so there will definitely be more of that in the future. Your blog looks great, and I hope your week on the hop goes well.

  10. What a great post! I love meeting quilters with a different perspective from mine.

    I have yet to use any organic quilt fabric, to my knowledge. I try to be eco conscious, but organic quilt fabrics haven’t come up on my radar until just recently. I do ensure I have very little waste with the fabrics I do buy. Scraps that are too tiny eventually go to the birds for use as nesting materials. I also quilt with castoff clothing. Denim jeans and my husband’s business shirts frequently get sucked into the quilt studio vortex.

  11. Heide

    Hi Seven, Wonderful getting to know you. Your quilts and projects are wonderful. You truly are a new blogger, that is great . I am over on in the Miss bee hiving hive and thought I would pop in and see some other wonderful quilters. TFS.

  12. I really enjoyed reading your post. I haven’t used organic fabric yet. I live in an area where quilting is pretty traditional in form and color and prints, so organic fabric is not available. We do, however, have an organic wheat farm and do search out organic options in our food when possible. Can’t wait to see your “I’m OK’ quilt finished!

  13. This is such a great introduction post, I feel like I really understand who you are and what you’re trying to accomplish with your sewing and your blog. The quilt you made for your mom is lovely. I love your tip about letting go of perfectionism, it can be applied to all parts of life.

  14. Amanda

    Wonderful blog post Seven! I am quite excited to continue to follow your blog! Cheers.

  15. I love your “I’m OK” quilt!! What a lovely idea! 🙂

  16. OMG, what a joy to read your post and learn more about you and your quilty projects. The only organic quilting thing I’ve bought was bamboo batting which I liked a lot. I loved your interview with Amanda and hope you’ll do more. Happy stitching!

  17. carol n

    You sound very busy! I buy fabric that I like, some organic, some not.

  18. Hello Seven! It was great to read your intro post. How fantastic it is that we get to connect with quilters around the globe. We’re all richer for it, I think. I needed to hear your advice about letting go of perfection. I am in the midst of making a t-shirt quilt and having a devil of a time wrestling it through my machine. The quilting is far less than perfect. I don’t have time or energy to rip out the stitches, so it will be gifted to the recipient as is. It represents a lot of love and effort…just not perfection. I will be following you, and trying to read the German post first…just to see if I can get the gist, before reading the English!

    1. I am sure the recipient will be more than overjoyed with it.

      trying to read the German post first

      lol What a great idea!

  19. I have to say, I’m a culprit of environmental unfriendliness – my job involves buying and selling bits of plastic… On the other hand, I used reusable shopping bags for years before the government started charging for disposable ones!

    Love the hand weaving, I’d love to give that a go but I imagine it takes years to make a piece.

    1. The weaving is actually quite quick – it depends on which fibers you use. Of course on a floor loom you are able to weave with thread-thin fiber and that certainly takes a while, but there’s also a rhythm to it that helps it go faster than you would expect. I use a rigid heddle loom (Schacht Flip 30″) and I really love it. I have 8-, 10-, and 12-dent reeds which really just means that I can’t do anything super fine so my projects rarely last more than a day or two. My hope is to buy a floor loom once we move to Ireland in a couple of months. 🙂

      I say pick up a rigid heddle, even just a small Schacht Cricket and see what it’s like. You’ll be able to make scarves, dishtowels, washcloths, and all sorts of things. It’s great fun! 🙂

  20. Wow! You are a multi-talented sewist! I have absolutely no desire to try clothing but really admire those of you who have. I enjoyed seeing some of your past creations and look forward to the next ones! I currently have some fabric from HoneyBeeGood.com. Their logo is DEDICATED TO PROMOTING ORGANIC AND SUSTAINABLE FABRIC FOR THE QUILTING AND SEWING ARTS. Their fabric is gorgeous and I am going to have fun figuring out what to do with it. It was a pleasure getting to know a fellow 2016 New Quilt Blogger better!

    1. Wow fantastic! I have never heard of HoneyBeeGood before! Thank you so much for the tip!! 🙂

  21. great introductory blog post Sven, good luck with the remainder of the blog hop. I loved the quilt you made for your mother, and the back pack looks great and very usable. When you move to Ireland check out the modern quilters ireland website.

    1. I certainly plan to make contact with the Irish quilters as soon as we land. 🙂

  22. Those blog hop leaders totally lucked out! Lol. I’ve absolutely loved getting to know you through the new bloggers group. You’re such an inspiration and I respect everything you’re doing within the sewing community. As you said, awareness is the first step to creating a lesser impact.

    Loved your quilting advice (needed to hear that) and I’ve always wanted to study anthropology! I’ve never purchased organic fabric, but that’s because I choose to use repurposed materials, as you already know… but if I ever do decide to source new materials, organic will definitely be the way I’ll go. I’ve done so much to reduce my environmental impact already, but I’ve really been thinking about trying to set up some sort of scrap drive… a way to accept fabric scraps from others that would otherwise be thrown out. Crazy scrap lady status is impending.

    1. A scarp drive sounds fantastic! What a great way to get your hands on all manner of fabric. Wow – move to Ireland and let’s do it together. lol

      1. Talk about a dream come true!!! 😉

  23. Hi, You have such an interesting blog! I can tell you put alot of time into your website. Congrats on the great work.
    Will you be reviewing more books in the future? Could I ask you a huge favor? Would you care to review my books when they come out in 2017?

    1. Thank you for the compliments! I would love to know more about your books, please send me a message through the Contact page.
      P.S. Your paper piecing patterns are truly adorable. 🙂

  24. Thoughtful post! It’s been great getting to know you better. I haven’t used many organic fabrics yet–cost is a big factor. But I try to do what I can. I’m excited for our Cloud9 block challenge coming up and to learn more by following your blog.

  25. Hello Seven, nice to meet you. I really like your Dracula quilt. It’s cute. As for using organic cotton, I do whenever I can. But as you know it’s super expensive, so not as often as I would like. At this point, I would love to live a package-free life. I get so annoyed with all the packaging that things come in – it seems so wasteful and often unnecessary. It seems you’ve been sewing a long time and that you have a lot of crafting skills. I cannot knit or crochet myself, which is just as well as I’m completely obsessed with my quilting and probably don’t have time. Still, they are skills I admire.

    1. Thank you for your kind words. It can be very frustrating trying to reduce waste when so much of it is out of our hands. We can, however, just try to take small steps which add up over time. Best of luck to you and thanks for being here! 🙂

  26. Lieber Seven

    Wie vereinbart gibt es den Kommentar auf deutsch.
    Ein sehr spannender Post über die Geschichte, wie du mit dem Patchworken und Quilten begonnen hast. Es hat Spass gemacht zu lesen.
    Ich habe bereits Erfahrung mit organic fabrics gemacht. Besonders bei Kleidung lege ich Wert darauf. Besonders Stoffe von Birch fabrics und Cloud9 gefallen mir da sehr gut. Einen Quilt komplett organic steht auf meiner to-sew- Liste.

    Liebe Grüße

    Judith

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