It’s been a busy week here at Right Sides Together headquarters! Between jury duty and back-to-school festivities and activities, I can definitely feel the buzz of September kicking in just around the corner. Since that’s the case, I thought I’d point out some writing I’ve done elsewhere lately.
For the journal of the Craft Industry Alliance, I wrote an article about fair compensation for bloggers. I sponsor blog partners through affiliate links, sponsored posts, and banner ads, but in the craft industry there’s a wide variety of accepted practices — some a lot more equitable than others.
For Craftsy, I curated a collection of some free rail fence quilting patterns uploaded by Craftsy members. I do a lot of roundup posts for them; I love supporting independent designers, and there are so many talented people out there. Offering patterns through Craftsy keeps their costs low and makes it possible for so many people to share their work.
Finally, I haven’t really chimed in to the MQG discussion on copyright and derivative works (and subsequent backlash claiming authoritarianism and favoritism) in QuiltCon submissions, but I think it’s an important issue that needs to be addressed. If you haven’t caught up yet, the original MQG post is here, though it’s been edited as the discussion has gone on, along with some of the major responses here and here. My post from last year on The Modern Quilt Police sums up my position quite nicely.
Bottom line: art is, in itself, derivative. Asking people to pick apart their work and identify every technique and inspiration that they did not invent is, quite honestly, not cool. And this decision seems arbitrary and capricious, especially considering the amazing yet “derivative” work of some pastQuiltConartists. And those were the ones I thought of just off the top of my head, from my one visit in 2014.
I’ll be back next week with fabric deals and more sewing + quilting love. Happy weekend!
These days I’m sewing fast, trying to whip up some summer outfits and finish bulky quilts before the summer. Summer vacation is a hard time to be a sewist, I’ve found: RST views are usually at their lowest during the break while everyone is traveling, dealing with kids, and finding other fun outdoors things to do. It’s okay; I don’t take it personally.
But the good news is that spring and summer are also the prime time for sewing retreats. I’ve got one scheduled for June myself. And there’s one thing that is universally true during sewing retreats: mamas get cray. We work hard and we play hard, and when we work and play hard (as we do at these things), we like to drink mommy juice and listen to sick beats.
So for your spring and summer crafting, here’s a bright, fun indie rock mix just for sewists. About half the songs have something to do with something related to sewing (either the artist or the song title or the lyrics themselves) but I promise you there is absolutely no “Turn Turn Turn” or “Doe a Deer” or anything of that sort. The other half are just good songs.
RST Spring Sewing Mix
I generally listen to podcasts when I sew, but I’ve found that listening to music is far less demanding and usually results in far fewer mistakes. So a sewing playlist? Just the thing to get in the zone, have a little fun, and sew while you can. If you’re anything like me this spring, it’s only a matter of time before you’re needed elsewhere.
It’s summer, when everybody I know is getting married or having more babies, and if you’re a quilter you know what this means: I’M IN THE WEEDS. I’m in that special place where I’ve been sewing so much that my machine needs to be serviced, but I can’t take my machine in for service because I need it to finish cranking out all these projects (#quiltgirlproblems, I know).
It occurs to me, however, that it’s been a while since I’ve broken down a quilty phenomenon via infographic, and the emotional swings accompanying huge projects seem as good as any. At the very least, this got me away from my sewing machine this week!
My daughter is four “-AND-A-HALF,” which is apparently old enough to show some curiosity about sewing and quilting. Her responses to my presence in the craft room range from “[insert judgmental tone] Mom, why do you like quilting so much?” to “Can you make me a She-Ra costume?” to “When I get older, I’m going to sew too!” I love that she’s starting to get interested in what I love to do, but I also know the limitations of her age and personality; she’s easily bored and incredibly strong-willed, so sitting on my lap while I sew just isn’t a feasible option. I commend other moms who get their kids to do this; my only explanations are a) that you are far better parents than I or b) that you have pliable Gumby children.
Even though C is not old enough to sew yet, I’ve found some ways to pique her interest over the past few years and encourage her participation in my quilting life. If you are looking for ways to get your toddlers and preschoolers interested in sewing, you might want to give some of these a try; I’ve had success with all of them.
Make stuff for your kids
(We’ll get the obvious out of the way first!) Having C was what made me get back into sewing in the first place, because what is the point of having children if you can’t dress them up and accessorize them as you see fit? I always include C in my sewing process, even though she’s not interested in participating. I cut out the fabric for her clothing right in front of her, and show her the different steps as I’m assembling the top or dress. A scrappy doll quilt I whipped up in about an hour a couple of years ago is still one of her prized possessions; her “baby” sleeps with it every night.
Take them shopping for fabric
I take C to the fabric store with me. Yup, I do. She’s of the age now where she loves to be a helper, and she has a WICKED sensibility for color and design already. I use the fabric store as a teaching experience. What are the different substrates and what are they good for? What sort of garment or project could we use this fabric in? What solids would match this print? Those super simple girls’ elastic-waist skirts are a go-to in our house, so she usually gets to pick out a few prints (within reason) before we leave.
Take them to quilting events
It cracks me up when I get the chance to take C to places where there are other quilts and, more importantly, other quilters. Look, child! Your mother is not alone in her freakish obsessions! I’ve had quilts in a couple of local shows, and she’s always part of my fan club, which is great. Last night, due to a babysitting conflict, she ended up accompanying me to a guild meeting. She played with another kid most of the time, but she was very interested in the show-and-tell portion of the program. She even wore one of her skirts and brought her doll quilt so that she could participate. Showing our kids the social side of sewing and quilting is important; it lets them know some of the important reasons why we do what we do, and exposes them to more projects overall.
Incorporate sewing into play
I often give C my scraps (particularly in the pink-and-purple color stories); it’s fun to see how she uses them in her pretend play. They’ve been blankets for stuffed animals and scarves and capes for her. I also really recommend those lacing cards; they develop the hand-eye coordination that she’ll need down the road, and she loves to pretend that she’s sewing.
Toy sewing machines are also an option; they don’t make them as much as they used to, but I’m currently perusing eBay and Craigslist to see if I can scrounge one up. Some of them actually sew (and I would remove the needle at this point because it could only lead to disaster) but others are just pretend. In the next year or so, I’m planning on introducing some of those needlepoint projects for kids, but I fully accept that she does not have the attention span to deal with those yet.
I’m really excited to introduce C to the sewing machine, but it’s not going to happen for a while. I think that’s okay; I want her to be genuinely interested in it in her own time. In the meantime, these approaches have helped me make sewing relevant to her. In what ways have you encouraged sewing appreciation for kids?
If you’re reading this on Tuesday, I am very likely in a packing frenzy for QuiltCon at this very second. You probably are too… why are you reading this? GO PACK!
So here’s our QuiltCon preview: we’re very excited to be bringing you news and scenes from Austin beginning tomorrow, and we’ll be sharing our impressions along with some photos from the QuiltCon show on Thursday. In addition to the awesome classes and lectures, the convention offers a whole hall of exhibitors (retailers, publishers, manufacturers, etc.) so I’m excited to check out what’s new and notable in quilting and sewing swag. We’ll pass all that on to you on Thursday: if you’re not headed to QuiltCon, you can still be in the loop; if you’re with us in Austin, be sure to check out our faves before you hit the convention floor!
In addition, we are opening up a giveaway for a delightfully snarky RSTee of your choice from now until they kick us out of the Moda party on Thursday night (10:00 p.m. Central). You absolutely DO NOT have to be at QuiltCon to join in the fun. To enter, simply repost today’s Instagram photo, tag and follow us @rightsidestogether, and hashtag #RSTDoesQuiltCon. Anyone can do it. HOWEVER, if you are at QuiltCon, you can qualify for a bonus entry by finding one of us at the Moda party (Rhonda and I will both be wearing our RSTees), posting a selfie with us, and tagging it as above. Cool? Cool.