Sunday, July 19, 2020

10 Years of Quilty Blogging

Well, it's been 10 years of quilty blogging! Funny how the very first post still holds true. Probably still be trying to talk to myself if it wasn't for all my blogging friends! Here's one of the first quilts that actually made it onto a post. I was super selective back in the early days, terrified of posting too many pics. It's an American Patchwork pattern that seemed pretty intimidating at the time. You know what that means, right? Yep. I was thrilled and feeling proud. Still hangs in my living room today!

I seriously debated whether or not to forge ahead on the anniversary of that first year. There were definitely things that I was struggling with, such as being able to respond easily to comments. {Which thankfully took eons to start rolling in.} They were so wonderfully scary. Hey! Someone commented on my post! People get me!

I've pretty much figured out how to handle that particular dilemma, but others {run on sentences?}, I've completely given up on. Laughing, laughing, laughing.... In fact, it's become a feature, not a bug. How else to write in a conversational tone? After a little bit of trial and error, I think I've finally found my writers voice...


Another thing that I worried about, just a little, was my exuberant quilting process. Transferring all the quilty journal-ling to the blog meant that I had choices to make. Would I continue to simply do an end-of-the-journey wrap up for each quilt?  Or would it be more interesting to write about process all along the way?

Uh huh. I leaned in. Over time, this blog has become even more about the process. Always with the goal of helping me to better understand how to get from A to Z, even if 'Z' isn't really all that clear at the onset. Taking pictures and writing about the creative journey absolutely helps to clarify important details. I tell myself that it helps some of you occasionally too. Maybe that's just justification for endlessly long posts? Whatever. The thing is, for the most part I've gotten way away from using patterns and find great joy in going my own direction. Letting the quilt tell me what it needs/wants, and trying to figure out how to best make that happen.

There has unquestionably been growing pains in the past 10 years. How could there not be? We're literally talking about a decade of quilty blogging adventures! One thing that is very sneaky, but oh-so-real, is the tendency for most of us to want to please others. It can make the most self confident among us want to self edit or try to make everything look good and shiny. 'Here's my amazing masterpiece. Don't you love how it came to be without any hiccups whatsoever?' Or perhaps we start making quilts in the same style that generate the most comments and likes. People are generally very kind, but criticism IS criticism. Bloggers who show the 'warts and all' need to develop a thick skin and learn not second guess every creative decision.

It's a trap, and will only steal our joy. It also leads to paralysis and excruciatingly boring quilts. You know that's the truth! Best to make quilts to please us first, and and then in doing so, we more regularly fill up the well. There starts to be an organic sort of 'flow' from quilt to quilt as we continue in our quest for answers. So much more fun and satisfying in the long term!

And if a few friends come along for the ride? All the better! My very favorite blogs are the ones where the quilters are generous, open and honest about how and where they got to where they were going. Or even more interesting, to where they ended up. Lets hear about the rough starts and missteps along with the cool moments of triumph and victory! Recognizing myself in others 'process' has undoubtedly helped me to become the quilter that I am today. Today's blog posts can be liken to yesteryear's quilting bees where it's easy to help others out just by being real.

Some 'aha' moments were unquestionably monumental in terms of my growth as a serious quilter. So valuable to read about things that didn't make sense in the beginning, but became clear when reading about them through the lens of another quilter. There were things that unnerved me or seemed time wasting. Other things that made me feel inadequate or especially unskilled, even lacking if I didn't share the enthusiasm to 'better' some specific area of my quilting. 

Sharing back and forth with other quilters has enormously helped in clearing up many of those unrealistic expectations and unreasonable 'rules' many of us start out with. Do you know how cheering it was when I realized that there are actually other quilters out there who honestly work better on shhh...., eight or ten open ended projects rather than only one? Huh? This doesn't have to be a guilty little secret?

The virtuous, feel-good crowd {less a problem today than ten years ago} would have you to believe that 'start one, finish one' is the absolute, number one, most rewarding way to do things. Good for you if that is your special zen, but that doesn't work so well for each and every one of us! I get bored almost into a coma and instead of finishing a dozen plus quilts a year, the outcome drops to a pitiful few. 

The funny thing is, many of these ideas have been rendered meaningless simply by admitting to them here on the blog. Or unexpectedly reading a quilter admit that perhaps she doesn't bury her threads. What??? When a few quilters react positively to these confessions, taking the time to say, 'Oh, I do that too', well... then we can shrug off the garbage and get down to the business of making our wonderfully amazing quilts in earnest. 


After a decade of copious {quilty} oversharing here at Quilty Folk, I'm can't say that I'm particularly immune to disagreements and general unhappiness concerning my creative choices. People do tell me once in a blue moon that they personally disagree with a point or two, and oh yeah, that they fear for my sanity. Well, maybe not the sanity part, but you know that is probably implied! 


If I truly want to succeed at making original looking quilts, then I am going to have to take a different path than others once in awhile. It might be hard to understand. It might even make you uncomfortable as to the direction my quilting journey is taking me these days. You might think that what I'm doing is flat out ugly or that I'm wasting my time trying to figure out the color green. That's just the way that it works and I need not take offense. I've stopped following many quilters myself through the years due to diverging interests, and I'm sure others have stopped coming to here for much the same reason. In that same vein, I've started following completely different quilters who maybe didn't resonate with me so much, many years before, but now they do. 

I've learned that the diligent pursuit of individual passions, obsessions and yes, even the rabbit trails of all these various quilting adventures are vital. They are important because they are the very things that lead to finding our true quilting voice. This time I'm speaking to the style, elements, vibe, personality and feel of our quilts. That voice. That almost magical thing that so definitively says, 'This quilt was made by me'. It's truly special and I doubt that I'll ever be able to take it for granted. It's just too hard earned.


It's amazing to look back 10 years and see so much progress. I can't even hardly put it into words! Starting out, it seemed like an almost unfathomable, practically unattainable goal! I'm not 100 percent satisfied, not in the least. Don't think that. There is still lots to learn and explore! I might not be in the 'It' crowd of quilting {some of us sort of float between the most popular genres}, but it has never been my intended destination, that popularity.

Over and over, I have self corrected by reminding myself that a great, robust creative process is absolutely about the DOING. Being present in the quilting room. Pursuing as many ideas that intrigue as possible. Participating in self-made challenges {and also, the occasional community challenge}. Definitely chasing after unique incorporation of many personally beloved quilting elements, whatever they may be. I intend to keep doing exactly that. AND, I want to keep encouraging others to gain confidence in their own creativity and originality. 

Ironically, this moment in time comes with a faint feeling of blogging fatigue. I'm not saying that I want to stop blogging. I think there's just too much crazy in the world for an introvert like me not to get overwhelmed once in awhile. It wears on me. Taking the time for quilty blogging these days feels like a luxury I can ill afford, and yet I thoroughly enjoy reading through other quilters posts every chance that I get. It's like taking a 'time out of time' in terms of current events. Yes, lets do continue to talk quilts and all the things that make us happy. And lets make good quilts. The more the merrier!

44 comments:

  1. What a joy to read your words, and know a bit of your creative mind. What a pleasure to see your original art! ON we go!

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  2. Everything you have said about this milestone event is why I enjoy reading your blog! Keeping it real! I love your quilts and I adore that you make your stacks! I am a stacker! Nothing better than curating a bundle/stack from your own stash, maybe adding a few new pieces to the mix. Or perhaps you bought a couple new pieces and then felt the urge to pull from the stacks or stash and start another. It has been a while since I made a quilt intuitively like you do. Oh how I miss it. SO reading what your up to from time to time keeps me grounded a bit and spins the gears and gets me thinking "what if" about my own stacks. I will get back there but have been weak and started some sew along things during the past few months. Maybe the isolation period making me feel I need to be part of ? Anyway. Keep on with your "folksy" vibe. Blog when you can. We are here waiting to see what's doing.

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  3. I love seeing the older quilts - I love the one from 2013 and of course Quilty 365 from 2018 I remember making mine and following along to see what others were doing with it - glad I found you many years ago

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  4. Happy Bloggaversary! I so enjoy reading about your quilting process. For me too, it is about the process and that is why so few quilts get completed ... My attention span is also very short! I thought maybe with retirement and social distancing more quilting would be accomplished but nooo!
    Summers are very short here in northern Sweden and since it is light almost 24 hours this time of year the garden is taking most if my time. Soon enough I will be stuck inside for a looong time! I have so many quilts in my head that wants to come out and reading your blog have made me think a little differently about colors combos and design!
    I hope you will keep sharing your process of thinking! Louise

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  5. We must continue to make quilts that our hearts tell us to ..... published patterns or our own unique designs. It was interesting to see how you have progressed through the years to where you are now. keep on designing your very creative quilts .... and I will enjoy seeing what you do!

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  6. What a wonderful walk down memory lane Audrey, and congratulations on 10 spectacular years. It does my soul good to know that other quilters are encouraged to put their personality - heart and soul - into their creative endeavours and you know that I adore the quilts that you make. Quilting is therapy, as is the practice of journaling about it on our blogs and with that comes great self-appreciation and peace. In the end, it's really only fabric and thread, but it can do so much good, both for us and for others. Thank you for sharing your insights and for keeping it real.

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  7. You are a maker and an encourager. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and your quilting journey. Showing some of your quilts from then to now is a beautiful visual of how you've grown and explored your creative side.

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  8. I loved reading about your quilting journey and so enjoy each new blog post. Your retrospective of quilts was fascinating, and seeing Quilty 365 brought back great memories of going on that adventure with you. Congratulations on ten years of educating all of us about your creative process. I look forward to seeing what you make next.

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  9. Congratulations on reaching this blogging milestone and sharing your (ongoing) creative voice with us! I've learned as a quilter that the process a project evolves through is often as, if not more, interesting than the finished quilt. So I appreciate any quilt blogger who is willing share how they got from "here to there". As someone who also finds it hard to be pithy and concise with blog posts (or as you can see, comments), I for one don't mind a long juicy, idea-filled post! And I'm glad to see that in most cases, you have reconsidered the opinion stated on your 2012 post: "labels, who cares about those?". When your wonderful works outlive you (and they will) I do not want future admirers of your quilts not to be able to celebrate you personally as the artist. These are not "anonymous" works, they reflect a joy and personality that should be able to be tagged to the specific, dedicated and talented artist who created them.

    Also a thank you: when I saw the picture of your 2020 "I am a maker" project (how did I miss THAT one when it posted?!?), I immediately thought: "oh, what a great mantra for the orphan block project I've long wanted to work on!". Of course going to the post, I find out that's exactly what had inspired the project! So know that I am printing that post out and putting it in my O-block box as inspiration for when I finally get around to that project. Always an inspiration!

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  10. Congrats on 10 years of blogging. I enjoy reading your blog.

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  11. If the day ever comes when you decide to stop posting, you will leave a huge hole in the quilt blogging world. I've dropped many bloggers who only show their finished photos with no insight into how they got there. Unless you want to make "cookie cutter" quilts, they're no help at all. My creative journey is different from yours (as it should be), but you taught me to see that it IS a journey. I remember the evolution of many of these quilts and the inspiration of your solutions was always a big "lightbulb" moment. Sharing your process and struggles to find what works and how to make do with what you have, has greatly improved my skills and my trust in my own judgment. So happy anniversary and a great big thanks from a great big fan.

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  12. Happy Ten Year Blogaversary! I love reading your process and seeing your quilts. Sometimes I watch you trying to decide between alternatives and I'll be screaming, "NO! Not that one!"...but yet, you do it and I love it. I love it when you make the quilts I didn't know I would like, because I get to see something different and beautiful. Thank you for blogging and sharing your inner process--it's so much more motivational than watching a blogger open a kit and use a fabric designer line to reproduce someone else's art. You put the soul back into quilting! (BTW, I'm an introvert too, and I understand your struggle. Sharing publicly changes everything, but I think you've achieved a wonderful balance.)

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  13. Congratulaions on your Ten Year Blogaversary. I am one who likes to see the 'process' rather than the end. We all create differently as our eye sees differently. I love your style, thought, process, AND end - they truly read you.

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  14. Hooray for 10 years! I hope you've enjoyed your bloggy journey as much as we've enjoyed watching you!
    I realized years ago that I'm a process person - I enjoy the making so much more than the having - so your posts really resonate for me. I love seeing your ideas progress and grow! Please keep on making and writing so I can trot joyfully along in your wake.

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  15. I always love your honesty. Quilting can be messy in so many ways with differing opinions, techniques and color sense. But, you stay true to yourself. I, on the other hand, have often been swayed by new trendy shades and patterns only to feel overwhelming relief at the end of the project when it is given away. I have learned a lot about myself by reading your blog. I think my style is finally surfacing - needs some tweaking but it's coming to the surface of the pool for a deep breath. I'm glad you're not giving up on blogging. It is my main solace during this whole rocky time.

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  16. I would have thought I had been visiting your blog for more than ten years but evidently not. You have been a good addition to the quilt blogging world. Always sharing the creative process you go through. Thanks for taking me along on the ride.

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  17. Thank you for the 10 years. And thank you for sharing so much

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  18. I so appreciate your sharing of your process--gives me much inspiration and hope that after all, my own crazy forays into scrappiness are okay, all right--even if no one likes them.
    I miss our little fabric shops that carried the most unusual and neat fabrics when I first began quilting--waaay before blogging entered my world. I often wonder if i have strayed from the path I was on--being swayed by what I read online and all the available patterns...but somehow I never CAN just stick with a pattern...I always go off on some tangent...
    Thank you for your process I really enjoy it...
    hugs from afar julierose

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  19. Congratulations on 10 years! So glad you'll keep blogging. Your posts are eye candy for me and I get excited about seeing what you are creating. Thank you for the positive creative energy!
    mbbaker35@yahoo.com

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  20. I alway so enjoy your posts, and seeing the path your creations take!! I Was sorting my fabrics this April, and, inspired by you, pulled a stack of fabrics that look really fun for a creation, something with tulips and baskets, perhaps! Hopefully, soon, I will be able to start it, and see what unfolds!! It was so fun to look back over the past 10 years of your wonderful quilts!! I always so look forward to your next post!! Thanks for sharing your creative journey!!

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  21. Loved looking back at all your older quilts, a treat! While we have different styles, I do love reading about your processes, from start to finish! It's so interesting reading why you make certain decisions, from your fabric choices to your unique layouts & quilting decisions. Thanks for all that you share!

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  22. Congratulations on ten years of blogging. It's fun to see this overview. You always share your process so thoroughly and transparently and it benefits us all. I like your statement about blog reading/writing being like a quilting bee.... I agree with you, although I miss getting together in person with fellow quilters!

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  23. I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog for many years and I want to thank you for the way you express yourself, both through your quilts and the words you write. Please keep being you. You are wonderful.

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  24. ¡Feliz aniversario! me gusta muchísimo su trabajo,usted arriesga y gana, no me gusta el color rosa pero usted lo combina genial.

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  25. Congratulations on 10 years of blogging! I have thoroughly enjoyed being with you for most of those 10 years and watching your quilting. I do love how you show and tell your journey with each quilt and as to criticism, I go with what my Mum taught me - if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. A good maxim in this day and age. Totally understand your blogging vagaries at the moment (I’m feeling much the same) but I do so look forward to seeing your quilts and reading about how they evolve so I sincerely hope you’ll continue x

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  26. Happy Anniversary! Looking forward to 10 more years. Thanks for taking us along on your journey. I always enjoy your thoughts as well as your quilts.

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  27. Ditto for all the others' comments! I'm so glad I found you a couple years ago, very much enjoy your quilts and your comments.

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  28. Audrey, your thoughts about making resonate with me. One of my core beliefs is that the process is as important as the product, and I so enjoy reading your thoughts and ideas through your journeys. I often go back to past postings on your blog to reread them. I especially enjoy your series about creativity. I hope that my quilts express my personality and sense of art as much as yours do. Each project is a new adventure, and the quilt never ends up the way I imagined. Each small decision along the way gets woven into my completed project. I relish making those decisions and making new fabric choices and designs. Thank you, thank you for sharing your journey!

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  29. Your blog has brought me continuous joy since I found you several years ago, so I am very glad that you began it. Thank you!

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  30. Your insight into the creative process and your sense of color and design truly amaze me. I enjoy every one of your posts and I thank you for making us smile and more importantly - "think"! You are certainly in the "it" crowd with me!

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  31. I am a new-ish follower. It is good to hear the story of your journey, the steps in the process along with the eye popping colors keep me coming back.

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  32. CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!!!!! I always find inspiration when I visit...though I don't always comment. THANK YOU for that!!! The way you match colors and create authentic patterns is what I continuously love peeking in on. Blogging fatigue....Honestly, I feel fatigue and every area of my life. I think it the fact that life is in a constant change now....calendars are reminders of everything that didn't and won't happen....it's emotionally exhausting. Just keep being you and know your blog and style add so much JOY to the quilty/blog world we all share. Sending smiles your way!!! :)

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  33. Happy 10 year blogging anniversary and thanks for sharing a decade of quilt progression. It's always fun to see them again in a reprise. I enjoy your blog because you talk about the process - which so much more interesting than the result, unless you want to copy a pattern. I enjoy your mix of primitive, improv/original design, and applique as well as your unique fabric mixture. And I've garnered lots of tips.
    I, too, feel bogged down with the posts these days but will still continue. If I want something new to read I need to reciprocate. And I think we are partly exhausted with the state of the world and the need to stay enclosed so much. Here's hoping the future opens safely.

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  34. Ten years of blogging is phenomenal, and your faithful readers are always happy to devour a new blog post. Describing your process while creating your unique quilts has encouraged many of us who may never be as adventurous or creative, but may at least gain the courage to try. I hope you will continue blogging at least occasionally, in these crazy times sometimes I think reading how other quilters are coping and continuing their creative endeavors is the only bit of sanity we read each day. P.s., hard not to notice 9 of the 10 quilts you featured in this retrospective are applique based, no real surprise there!

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  35. Wonderful post, well said! I love the back story on every quilt, the how, why and so on that leads one to a finish, and your finishes are unique and delightful! During these rugged times we need something to distract us from the evil in this world, to where we can find hope in CREATING.

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  36. Thank you! I think we are not just experiencing 'blogging' fatigue but general what's-it-all-for fatigue! It's always such a treat to come and just look at quilts and read quilty voices!

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  37. Thank you for continuing to blog. I enjoy your quilts, your stories and behind the scene thoughts and decisions that go into making of each quilt. I have admired your piecing passion as well as applique mixed into it. Three is a community feeling in blogging that does not compare to anything else. The blog fatigue is part of it and everyone who blogs, completely understands. I loved seeing your quilts from past ten years! xo

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  38. Oh Audrey - you have put together a phenomenal post here - so very many comments and thoughts and process notes that ring so true for me. Hooray that you will keep blogging - I have reduced my frequency as I'm overwhelmed by so much else going on at home and in the world outside our door(s) but I NEED my blog to help me frame my quilting thoughts. THANK YOU for doing what you do and here's to many more years of sharing!!!

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  39. Your quilts are all so wonderful great colors and all so original! I enjoy reading about your process. Struggles, doubts and triumphs they all go into the mix and out come great quilts! Happy 10th!

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  40. 10 years! Congratulations! I have so enjoyed reading about the progress of your quilt making...the re-thinking of fabric choices or changing settings to enrich the outcome of your making.
    Thank you for being so open with your quilting journey.

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  41. Congratulations on 10 years! I love reading your blog. Thank you so much.

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  42. Congrats for sticking with blogging for 10 years. That's a great record! I wish you at least 10 more years of blogging.
    This was a fun and interesting post, especially to see a quilt from each of the years since you began blogging (though I know you have dozens more). I enjoy reading your ideas and thoughts about creating and seeing your quilts with each new post. Best wishes for more beautiful quilts.

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  43. I love seeing the progression of quilts! Happy blogaversary!

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  44. I really love your blog and the quilts you make. I love seeing quilts develop, see how you run with a stack of fabric and create. I enjoy reading about the proces making a quilt. So of course I hope you keep writting. I will enjoy reading about it.
    Warm greetings

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Thanks for visiting! I love getting comments and always try to respond via email. Blogger is being especially difficult right now so leave an email within the comment if you aren't getting a reply from me. Also, gonna have to use Captcha for awhile to see if the spam will go away. Sorry!