Aren’t blogs wonderful things? One of the reasons I started blogging was to get connected to other like-minded people as I started out on my art quilting journey. The response I’ve had has been more than I could have imagined. One thing I never imagined was how many people I would meet in real life from connections made in Blogland.
Melody Johnson’s blog was probably the first I ever read — I found it while looking at the ways quilters were creating their websites in preparation of creating my own. Shortly thereafter I met her in person at Art Quilt Tahoe.
While there I met my quilt mom-to-be, Gerrie, who’s blog I had just started reading.
In a reversal, Robin and I met first (at AQT) and then have kept up with each other’s journey through our respective blogs.
Wenche, of Norway, found me in France, of all places.
I had the pleasure of taking a class from Dijanne Cevaal in The Netherlands and then helping her get copies made of her wonderful free-motion quilting resource book before last year’s Carrefour European du Patchwork: all organized via blogs. I saw her again at the show and met Sandy too (who recognized me because Katja was at my side!).
Francoise actually came from Belgium to Germany to see my show after we met through our blogs.
Charlotte showed up at the gallery too, and now we regularly check in on each other’s blogs. I even convinced her to come to my Fabric Collage class!
Last week I had a wonderful suprise in my email inbox — Katrin was in Heidelberg and could we meet for a drink!? She is just as cute in real life as you would imagine from her blog; and even though she said she was nervous, we had a lovely time talking about fabric (of course), sewing, movies, pirates and our families. We both forget cameras — bad bloggers we are.
When I was trying to think of the few bloggers I had met in real life, I amazed myself at how many there actually were. The wonderful thing about quilt and craft blogs is that no one needs to hide ulterior motives or their true identity like in online dating, so you actually DO want to meet these people!
Not long ago, Nadine left a comment on my blog and in visiting hers I realized that not only was she also an American in Germany, but I had seen samples of her beautiful machine quilting at the Arts and Crafts Shop. I had even tried to take a class from her once, but the planets were not aligned and I didn’t get in, or it was canceled, or the date was bad for me (it was years ago and I don’t remember the details). Today, through the magic of blogging, we organized a quilt day together. What fun!
First we went to her LQS, StoffCom. After meeting Wenche, I wasn’t too surprised that the shop owner, Birgit, recognized me before Nadine could even introduce us. How wierd is that? It’s a very nice shop with a wide variety of fabrics and great samples to look at everywhere. I found a fat quarter of red fabric with white spots and Nadine insisted that I needed it. Of course, when you are a guest of a foreign dignitary and he offers you Slivovic it’s very rude to take a pass, even if you don’t like alcohol that tastes like jet fuel (even though I have no experience with either foreign dignitaries or jet fuel). Nor should you pass on goat’s milk when your host offers, even if you are lactose intolerant (just ask TS&WGH about that one). So, I figured it would be plain rude to have been brought specially to this lovely quilt shop and NOT buy the fat quarter. Then I saw two more cool fabrics (Gerrie, these remind me of you) and justified that if I was breaking my no new fabric rule by buying one fat quarter, it really wouldn’t hurt to buy three. Then I found the basket of hand dyed embroidery yarns. Had to get a couple of those. Wooden Fliegenpilz button? ‘Nuf said. Nadine wasn’t even twisting my arm — really.
Then Nadine whisked me off to The Gussy Goose on Patch Barracks. This is the equivalent of the Arts and Crafts Center on Patton Barracks here in Heidelberg. I consider this trip R&D. The Arts and Crafts Center has many more fabrics, but Gussy Goose is no slouch. I almost got to the door without buying anything, but then fluffy bits in the 45% off basket caught my eye, which then led to unearthing ric-rac. Green and taupe ric-rac. Had to get that.
We got lunch to go and headed back to Nadine’s for the really good stuff — quilt show and tell. As she said in her blog, we’re probably quilting opposites, but we had no shortage of things to talk about. And even if our styles and approaches are different, we can still appreciate the strengths in each other’s work. While I was there she found out that her quilt Material Marquetry, won an Honorable Mention at the NQA show. Congratulations! I also got to see her latest work in progress (it’s a few posts down in her blog), and although she’s referred to it as her “misery” quilt, it’s really going to be beautiful when it’s done. She was very complimentary of my quilts and fondled them as they love to be fondled.
Then we set up our matching sewing machines across her work table from each other and got down to quilting. Nadine has wonderful control of her quilting lines and pays great attention to detail — not every stitch kind of detail, but what needle goes with what thread, and what thread looks best on the fabric, and how much or how little stitching needs to be where kind of detail. I managed to take one picture of the view from my machine:
She let me use her new favorite 100 weight silk thread. It is so beautiful for small, detailed work. This is the way to go if you are filling monochromatic areas with stitching; it makes everything look good. I tried out the Microtex needles i don’t even remember buying too. I think I may just skip the Quilting needles and the universals, even when I’m quilting with heavier cotton thread. I’ll keep my top stitch needles for the rare occasion I use a metalic, but something about the microtex went just a little smoother through the fabric, even in the larger size. I doodled feathers Diane Gaudinski style. I still need lots of practice, but the silk thread likes my naturally small stitches. Check out that tiny stippling — I had no idea I could go that small.
That’s Nadine’s chopped up quilting foot too (matching machines meant we could swap lots of accessories!). I think I’m ready to take the hack saw or wire cutters to mine now too — I didn’t realize how much more visibility the open toe gives you. We chatted and we sewed and looked at magazines and chatted and sewed. I filled in empty areas on my Neeoodle sandwich with more feathers. I had admired the accurate and even stitching on one of Nadine’s earlier quilts and she whipped out a stencil for me and said all she did was follow the lines. Now I followed the marked lines on a few quilts once upon a time and mine were all wobbly. Guess what, I finished my assignment and the teacher said I did just fine. I guess practice does help because this time I had no problem following the lines. I did two in heavier cotton thread and they looked pretty good (I had some tension issues on the back, but nothing that fiddling with the machine couldn’t fix) and then decided to try it with the thin silk:
I rinsed the blue pen marking lines away when I got home, and it looks pretty good! I echo quilted the motif just for kicks: that will definitely take more practice, but I’m thinking that it might just be time for me to mark a few quilts again. I probably should have done the fans in the sky of “My Dream House Has Roots” like this. You live and you learn. I had a great day, and came home with a few more tools in my quilting toolbox.
Thanks again, Nadine. I’m definitely up for doing this again.
And thanks blog for allowing me to meet so many wonderful and talented people.