All posts by teresa

So much writing to do, so little time

Most of you probably know that I spent some time with my kids in Vietnam a few years ago, but if you don’t, you can see the brief recap in this little video (I made for a continuing education course):

I knew I wanted to write about it even before we left the country because what we were doing was different from most families, let alone single-parent families. I blogged it all and took copious notes then started writing the book in 2008.

I went for it with gusto, writing at night, forming a critique group. I really was going to write a book, I thought. Then life got a bit derailed and I  questioned my ability to write, my parenting choices, the audacity (not to mention hubris) to pen a memoir. I gave up completely.

But when I returned to Portland last summer, the writing group I’d started back when I first began writing the book was still plugging along and still encouraging me to get back in the saddle and finish this damn book. Several months later, I gave in and started editing the 60k+ words I’d managed to get onto paper.

I’d originally written it all in present tense and was absolutely sure that’s what I wanted. Then one reader after another mentioned that the tense bothered them, took them out of the story. Instead of making all the changes that would be required to put it in past tense, I simply quit working on it.

Now I’m back at it, spending weeknights at a local pub, making the edits my critique group encourages. Wondering how seven years have passed since I first began.

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This weekend I got the chance to really sink into it at a family friend’s cabin at the beach.  As of this morning, I have 28,662 words written, edited and ready for the To-Print file.  This makes me ridiculously happy. Happy enough to head down to the water, even amid the wind and rain, to catch a little break.

It’s so nice to be excited about the book once more and I’m ever grateful to Michele, Steve, Natalie, Jaymee and Prado for supporting this project since the beginning. XO.

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Sew Expo

I almost forgot to share the pics of Sew Expo–oops! Friday before last I got the chance to head up with the crowd of Fabric Depot customers to visit the Sewing and Stitchery Expo held each year in Puyallup.  The best part was that my mom was already up there and we got to spend most of the day together and I was able to introduce her to some of my industry friends.

I picked up some patterns, too. For only $5 each, I couldn’t pass up these two new dress patterns, especially the top one from Lisette. Liesl Gibson is one of my favorite designers/pattern writers and if you haven’t made up any of her patterns (she also does Oliver + S and Straight Stitch Society patterns), you really should. She knows what she is doing. 20150228-062509-23109505.jpg

I was able to finally meet Marcy Tilton and her sister Katherine Tilton thanks to Pati Palmer. So much design talent all together!

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My mom and I wandered around and happily ran into Luke‘s quilt at the Pendleton booth. Having done work with him, it makes me ridiculously happy and proud to see his quilts out in the wild.

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My friend Cheryl (of Paradiso Designs) was there and we got to catch up, chatting about bags, customers, industry shows and life in the Pacific Northwest. Then Amy Barickman came by and we  chatted more. I love her Indygo Junction patterns, too, and have made a handful of projects from her patterns. They’re well worth making, I promise!

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I picked up a few other things along the way…a little stamp to make 2.5″ pineapple  blocks, acrylic templates for 3.5″ drunkard’s path blocks, a new rotary cutter from Kai Scissors (and a pinking blade!), and the A Place for Everything bag from Patterns by Annie.

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It was a fun little jaunt for the day, but next year I’d really love to take a class or two.  And teach a class or two, as well, if I can convince the right people.

 

03/03 is a difficult day

It was 25 years ago today.

weddingI married my high school crush way back in 1990. We had known each other for five years, not-so-secretly crushing on each other until a fateful day in our friend Chris’ bedroom when we decided we might as well actually date each other.  Just shy of a year later, we got married. We were only 19, but sure that we had  married for time and all eternity. Absolutely sure.
[To keep this sewing related: my mother sewed my wedding dress using three different patterns because I was, uh, finicky.]

Ten years later, we divorced. He went his way. The kids and I went ours.

sf_prado_loveThen ten more years, 22 years to the day after my wedding, I realized I was truly, madly, deeply in love with my boyfriend. We’d dated off and on, then took a weekend trip to San Francisco and I knew… this was the guy I actually wanted to spend forever with.

Less than a year later, he broke up with me, unable to compromise on parenting differences and clashing personalities.

Now,  two years later,  I’m (still? once more?) single and he’s in love with someone else.

It’s a weird day for me, this third of March. I remember feeling so much love for both these men. The memory of the recent love so close it’s tangible. My heart bursts with gratitude for feeling so much love and passion for another person, for feeling loved in return. And simultaneously it is crushed by loss.

Forgive me while I cry a little today, then smile a little. Forgive me when I get lost in my memories and wishes and broken dreams. I’ll have another 364 to push those thoughts away, but today I let all the feelings in.

 

Supernova is a pattern!

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Last month I participated in Jennifer Sampou‘s Black and White Collection blog hop via the work blog, but I’m so happy about how it turned out, I just wanted to share it here as well! We got to choose our own pattern (or make up our own) for  each stop along the way. I’ve learned to really love this Winding Ways block and wanted to use that. I set to work with a pencil and a Winding Ways blank template.

winding ways supernovaOne of the things that I really love about this pattern is all the intersecting circles and how they play with each other depending on where you put color and where you don’t.

I can sit and color in those blocks for hours, erasing and re-arranging until everyone has locked the doors and gone home.

 

I can’t say I figured this out on my own, either. It was thanks to doing work with Luke Haynes on this Moda quilt that I learned just how entertaining this traditional block can be when fiddled with.

sorry for the iPhone shot, but it's all I can find :(
sorry for the iPhone shot, but it’s all I can find :(

I played with it until I settled on a design, got the fabric and set to work on cutting out the pieces (thank you, Accuquilt) and piecing, piecing, piecing. I did a lot of these blocks one at a time, which I tend not to do (I love chain piecing more than almost anything), but since it was a pretty finicky pattern and I was making it up on the fly, I needed to get it right.

If you look close enough, though, you’ll notice that I didn’t get it quite right. Let’s call that a “design choice” or a “only God makes perfect things” decision.

Yeah, that’s it.

The quilt was featured on the third day of the hop and I was super happy to see it get so many likes on Instagram. I know, it sounds silly and superficial, but really…it’s hard putting your work out there to be judged. And I’ve seen more than a few designers ripped a new one over their designs and it is not pretty. Luckily this one was liked.

20150208-050158-18118064.jpgA lot. And people asked for a pattern. (What the what?!?)

So I asked my boss if we should do a pattern through work or if I should do it on my own.

She said they’d do it (which is great because their graphic designer is WAY better than I could ever be). I wrote up a few guidelines, figured out quantities and then “tested” it with paper pieces.

 

Then wham-bam, there was a pattern!

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And you can get it for FREE from Fabric Depot: Supernova Quilt.

In March I’ll have a little quilt along for those who are interested in making your own version.  I’m still working out the details and trying to figure a workable timeline for everyone, so if you have feedback on what you want/like/hate about quilt alongs, leave me a comment. I’d love your input!

Introducing: the Circling Geese Squished Square Pincushion Pattern

With a name like that I might just call it the CGSSPP from now on.

Circling Geese Pincushion Pattern

It’s actually the first of a series of patterns that will be coming out with paper-pieced (also called foundation-pieced) tops and the funky construction of two squares sewn together to create a 3-D form.

Last fall I made the first of these, taking the idea from a pillow I’d seen that had flying geese in a circle. I’m the kind of crafter who thinks: I can do that. And this time I really did!

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It was a good lesson in working with Adobe Illustrator (something I’ve been struggling to do for years now), tweaking the size of the triangles, then the actual squares until I got something I was really happy with.

I’m super stoked to finally get to offer the pattern and hope to do a little teaching with it to show just how simple paper-piecing can be. Seriously, it’s perfect for stuff like this that needs precision. And once you’ve got it figured out, it takes the stress out of getting perfect seam allowances. I don’t know about you, but that’s a stressor I can definitely do without.

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I took a ton of pictures and my co-worker helped put together a classy looking little pattern. Natalie of Beyond the Reef Patterns is selling the pattern at QuiltCon for me and hopefully I will get the paper pattern into more shops soon. But for now it’s available as a download from Craftsy.

Thanks so much for everyone who’s bought one so far and I can’t wait to see your variation!