When the world came to a halt and days spent at home continued to wear on, many of us turned to home-based projects to provide comfort. This was evident in the quilting and sewing industry, as they experienced a serge in sewing machine sales, repairs and in online purchases. Mask making was the catalyst as many took to their sewing machines to express their concern and support for others. As stay-in-place guidelines continued, many of us experienced a significant amount of extra free time and sewists alike put this time to good use dedicating it to their beloved hobby. New projects were started and old ones were pulled out and finished. And a myriad of new sewing enthusiasts were busy learning how to sew or quilt. Meanwhile, another movement was happening in the quilting and sewing industry, a large shift towards remote inspiration and e-learning. In general, more people were looking to online resources to find their creative spark, seek knowledge and overcome boredom. Many quilt and sewing professionals along with enthusiasts were putting up a broad range of fresh sewing and quilting content. Add to that, the ease and flexibility of online access, it almost didn't matter if you couldn't go to your cherished guild meeting or physically attend your favorite quilt show or workshop. Your meetings, quilt shows and workshops were now conveniently brought right to your home. A bright spot for sure this past year on some otherwise gloomy days. I applaud my professional friends and colleagues who stepped up and made the investment and transition to online teaching. And, I think anyone who had the opportunity over the past year to participate in an online workshop or to attend a Zoom or Facebook Live class, quilt show or virtual lecture would agree.
As a fairly new quilt teacher to the industry, I watched the trend towards online teaching grow considerably and I struggled with how I wanted to play a part in it. Online teaching has it's own unique set of challenges. But my biggest road blocks weren't necessarily the technology or skill set to teach virtually instead, I figured out it was the classroom setting. I wasn't feeling the magic of connecting with others in a virtual classroom setting. I am generally a friendly person (LOL) and I thoroughly enjoy interacting with people. This is the reason for my public announcement last September when I made a decision to put an early end to my professional quilt teaching career. In hindsight, this announcement was probably premature because over the next few months I would come to realize that I wasn't ready to put an end to teaching or interacting with others in the quilt community but instead, I was feeling the pressure to do something that I wasn’t crazy over or excited about.
After cleaning out almost every nook and cranny of my house. I too found that I had extra time on my hands. I spend more time in my studio and took full advantage of this quiet and creative period. Having this extra personal time allowed new quilts and exciting ideas to flow freely from me, such as the beginnings of "Decorative Stitch Art" and my Moroccan Mosaic quilt series.
This was also was very productive period for me. I set goals focusing on refining my mosaic quilt making process. There were steps in my process that I've always felt could be done differently and carving out the time to make some major changes was challenging. I like to work smarter, not harder. Therefore, I invested specific amounts of time into the technology that I use in my quilt making process. Learning to fully navigate my existing digitizing software, buff up my digital drawing skills and to familiarize myself with the operation of a new commercial grade, electronic cutting machine. Each of these investments has its own benefits that will considerably help me with my quilt making. More to come on these in the future.
In the studio, this quiet period of time has been personally valuable. But the key word here is "quiet". The lack of interaction with people, the desire to share with others, and having no idea when in person teaching would resume again or what the landscape would look like continuously brings on and off unsettled feelings. Recently and similar to last summer, I pulled out the camera stands, booms and microphones and I did a little video practicing but that's as far as it got. Much faster this time, I confirmed for myself that teaching virtually verses teaching in a classroom really wasn't going to be my gig. I couldn't get a sense of the long term enjoyment that it would bring me. Perhaps, I should have told myself a while ago to be patient or to just continue to stay in my own lane.
Luckily for us, human nature prevails. Human beings desire to connect with each other. We want to interact with our favorite vendors, shop at our quilt shops, be in the good company of friends at our guilds, stand in front of amazing and emotionally moving quilts at a quilt show and we want to be enriched and inspired by teachers in a classroom setting. As the country slowly regains it's footing, our industry is making some momentum as well. Guilds are opening their doors again, educators are flying off to teaching destinations, vendors are scheduling their event calendars and large quilt venues, such as Quilt Festival and AQS QuiltWeek are resuming shows and activities. As for virtual teaching, it's not going anywhere, in fact, trends indicate that less people are attending quilt shows and more are getting their information through online sources. For some, access to quilt shows, guild meetings and online videos are also a fantastic alternative to travel expenses associated with in person teaching. And the younger, future generation of our industry, they are already accustomed to a digital lifestyle and often reach first to online resources and social media as their preferred methods to connect with and learn from others. Fortunately, for the community of quilters and sewists we have these options and we get to choose the way we most enjoy accessing our information.
As for me, I will be back out there on the teaching circuit soon and I hope to meet you in one of my future quilt classes or workshops. This is where I find my greatest comfort and being in the presence of other likeminded creatives fills my happiness tank.
Father's Day comes at a great time of year for Dads a summer fishing trip with this quick grab-and-go fishing pole carrying bag makes for a perfect and relaxing afternoon.
Not only does this carrying bag sew up in a jiffy, the fabric is made from a waxed canvas material which is both durable and water resistant. It's also really fun to crinkle up this fabric and once it's unfolded, it leaves behind a cool, worn-in looking texture. A great looking material to make a backpack with.
You can also customize this bag. Making any necessary alterations the overall length and width to fit Dad’s specific fishing pole and reel dimensions. And because you are the designer, you can customize the bag’s accent panel to any type of fishing or outdoor themed pattern you desire to give his fishing pole bag that extra special touch.
This is a perfect quick sew project and it's just in time for Father's Day. Full Instructions can be found here on my website and on Janome's Project page here. Give Dad something he will love using the rest of this summer and beyond.
Happy Sewing and Quilting!