Everyone has problems, but quilters experience problems that no one else really does. When my “Sew Funny” photo album started to grow and grow, I decided it was time to do a post rounding up problems that are uniquely ours.

You're sewing on the go, and your sleeve is the only handy place for your pins. I can't tell you how many times I've left the house like this!

You’re sewing on the go, and your sleeve is the only handy place for your pins. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left the house like this!

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WIP Wednesday #11: Vacation Edition!

After a month and a half of giving my life over to work, I got home just in time to head to the airport with Mr. JoniQuilts for a much-needed vacation. We spent a night in Miami, boarded the Norwegian Escape for a week, and then bookended the trip with another night in Miami. The doing nothing part was probably my favorite. We were out on the sun deck early each morning and spent the day lying around, catching up on our reading, and just enjoying some quiet time. We spent each evening in one of the restaurants enjoying some of the best food of our lives. We even have the weight gain to prove it!


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How Much Fabric Do I Need?

This is a question Mr. JoniQuilts asks me all the time when I come home from the quilt store with more fabric to add to my stash, but I’m being serious with you today. You’re at a quilt show or the quilt store or just surfing the web, and you see a quilt you would like to make on your own. Either the pattern isn’t available or you just want to wing it for once. So how do you figure out how much fabric you need to make it? I use two different methods for this: quilt math and the 40% rule. Continue reading

WIP Wednesday #10: Flint Edition, Part 3

After a ten-day break, I’m back in the mitten for work. Luckily during my break, I was able to prep a lot of portable sewing for this work trip and my upcoming cruise at the end of the month. Yay! And that yay is for both portable sewing and the much-needed vacation coming up. I was also able to spend some of my break sewing, so that made me very happy. Here’s a recap:


Block 3, Lots of Love, from The Splendid Sampler was all cut out before my first trip to Flint, but I didn’t piece it because there are So. Many. Tiny. Pieces! It was intimidating, but I was so happy when it came out the right size. I’m doing each block in monochromatic solids, and this block taught be a lot about value. Doing it this way has been way more challenging than I thought it would be.

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The Joy of Making Quilts for Loved Ones

Three weeks ago I went on a little rant about people expecting you to make quilts for acquaintances without acknowledging the quality of your tools and talent. This week I’m turning that around and talking about making quilts for loved ones.

One of the things I enjoy most about being a quilter is being able to share my talent with close friends and family. For babies especially, I like to wait until they’re about a year old to get started because I want to make something that goes along with their personality than trying to fit a quilt into a theme or color palette.

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WIP Wednesday #9: A Splendid Homecoming

After three long weeks in Flint, Michigan for work, I finally came back home last Saturday. Mr. JoniQuilts took me on an overdue date on Saturday night, and I spent my only two days off in the month of March – Sunday and Monday – catching up The Splendid Sampler in my studio. And now I’m only behind three and a half blocks…with a new one to come out tomorrow!

A long overdue date night with Mr. JoniQuilts!

A long overdue date night with Mr. JoniQuilts!

On Sunday, I printed out all the patterns I missed while out of town and got the fabric all selected and ready to go for sewing on Monday.

On Sunday, I printed out all the patterns I missed while out of town and got the fabric all selected and ready to go for sewing on Monday.

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WIP Wednesday #8: Flint Edition, Part 2

When I came to Flint for work over two weeks ago, I thought I could keep up with the blog. I thought I could enjoy a bit of sewing every night. I thought wrong. Turns out, working 7 days a week for 70 hours each week really wears a girl down. But I have made sewing time a bit of a priority the past few days and have managed to relax and nearly finish block two from the Naturalist’s Notebook.


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WIP Wednesday #7: Flint Edition, Part 1

My recovery from the flu came just in time. I traveled to Flint, Michigan, this past Saturday for work to support the water crisis recovery. Even though I’m working crazy hours every single day, I managed to bring a small bag of quilting projects to keep me busy in my room at night. So far sewing time is limited, but I did manage to finish block four from The Splendid Sampler.


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On Being “The Quilter”

“Jane’s having a baby, so we all thought we could give you money for material to make her a blanket.” Look. I’m happy Jane’s getting lucky and that it “took,” but let’s back up for a minute on your perceived obligation I have to make her a baby quilt.

Good Quilts Need Good Fabric

I’m sure that when people approach quilters with this idea, it’s because they just saw fabric is on sale for $1.99 per yard at a major national craft store chain. However, good quality 100% cotton quilting fabric can cost as much as $15 per yard. Plus there’s an investment in the batting and thread that should be the same quality as the pieced top and backing. Yes it’s a lot more money, but do you want something cheap or something that a family can hold on to for a lifetime? I’m guessing it’s the second. The extra cost is so worth it.

Quilting is Art, and I Worked Hard to Develop My Skills

My time isn’t worth anything to you? The 16 plus years I’ve spent mastering my art isn’t worth anything to you? My dedication to creativity and quality isn’t worth ANYTHING to you? Well that’s just insulting. While baby-sized quilts can go together pretty quickly, even the simplest of designs done all by machine can consume an entire weekend of work. The time I spend working on these quilts of obligation is time I’m either not spending with friends and family or that I’m not improving my techniques. So if you want to exploit my talent for the benefit of the group, you better be willing to pay a fair price for that.

That’s Not to Say I Never Make Baby Quilts

So I know this sounds like a rant, and maybe it is a bit. In truth some of my favorite quilts I have ever made were for people who are very special to me. My nieces and the children of very close friends have all received handmade quilts from their Aunt Joni. I enjoy the process of getting to know these little people and then thinking about the perfect design and color palette for their quilts. I even wait about a full year to make a quilt for a baby. I love thinking about how much I love these little ones and their parents while I go through the process of cutting, piecing, quilting, and binding. I absolutely love getting pictures of happy babies and parents once the quilts have been received. This is the best feeling I get as a friend and a quilter. It’s how I combine the best of both worlds. Please don’t suck the joy out of that process for me by expecting – or worse, demanding – that I give freely of my time and talents to make a quilt for someone I’m not really close to.

Oh…and call it a blanket one more time and see what happens.

What do you think about these quilts of obligation? Do you go ahead and make them, or have you learned to say no when you should? Let me know in the comments.