Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bacon's First Quilt Show

Sorry if this is a bit late and you are super sick of Quilt Con posts. But I wanted to include some thoughts on having quilts in the show. 

I had two quilts in the show at Quilt Con. This was the first time I had shown my work in any serious way (not that I don’t love bloggers’ quilt festival, but it is not juried and it is more of a celebration than critical experience).

I didn’t win anything, but I am not disappointed. I honestly feel like seeing my quilts in the show was a great prize. I have also not gotten my feedback from the judges yet, so I don’t know how they did. I am not sure I will share the feedback on this blog. I doubt the judges will be harder on me than I am on myself, so I am not too concerned with what the judges think.

I just wanted to use this space to ruminate on how showing my quilts made me feel.

When I first saw my quilts on the show floor, I got really excited. I made that! It is hanging from the wall! There is a label with my name on it!  It looks like Art! Then I started looking around and comparing my quilt with its neighbors. Is it as good as the other ones? Can they tell that my quilting isn’t even? Do they see the cat hair?

I do not make show quilts. I started these quilts with the intention that they would be mine.  I designed them because I had to. It is hard to explain, but sometimes quilting for me is like reading a really good book. I just can’t put it down until I see the end. I need to know!

I made these quilts with the idea that I would control their narrative. Most quilters do that; we make quilts for people, for charity, for our homes and beds. We quilt because we want to. We know that they will be loved. In a sense, we control who sees our work and where they go. When my quilts got into the show and while they were hanging, I lost control of the narrative. People, anyone who wanted to pay to get onto the show floor, could think anything they wanted about my work. This is not necessarily bad; it just is totally outside my experience as a first time quilt entrant. Strangers could not only judge my craft, they could interpret my work however they wanted.  They could be inspired, disgusted, bored, etc.

I am generally not concerned by the thoughts of others and I don’t think I mind losing control of my quilts for the weekend. I am definitely not fishing for compliments or writing this to be self-deprecating.

I just found it to be a completely disconcerting experience to stand on the show floor and watch people experience my work. These are people who don’t know me. They don’t read this blog. They don’t know I have a neurotic cat and love blue. They don’t know I collect cat fabric and need to sew like I need to breathe. They have no idea what my other work looks like. They are just experiencing this quilt, this collection of cotton fibers that three months ago I was curled up under, as a piece of art. For that moment, it belonged to them.

My quilts arrived at home yesterday. Soon they will be back on my couch. I think I will take off the hanging sleeves that I had to attach by hand. They will both go back on the couch to be cuddled and snuggled under as I always intended.

I also think I will probably enter more quilt shows.

One thing that I know, I will continue to make more quilts. I have to.

Thanks for reading friends. Next post we will be back to our regularly scheduled nonsense.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Hello Quilt Con! My name is Stitching and Bacon

I often like to start a blog post by stating where I am located while I am typing these words. Usually it is some tiny little town in a generic hotel room for work and sometimes I am at my desk at home in North Carolina.

Today, I am in a plane over the earth on my way to Austin, Texas. I am going to QUILT CON! 

Pause for a second, can I say that again? I am going to Quilt Con. I can hardly believe it. This is such a huge treat for me. It has been planned for months and it is finally here.  It feels like Christmas, Hannukah, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Easter, and my birthday all rolled into one.

Okay, now that I am sort of over that. Are you going to Quilt Con? Can we meet? I am going to have buttons to trade or just give you.

I am going to start this epic blog post by telling you the ways you can find me at Quilt Con.

Firstly, I am taking two classes. Victoria Findley Wolf’s Modern String of Florid Blooms and Yoshiko Jinzenji’s Sheer Fabrics—Silhouette Pillow. I am also volunteering on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday as a classroom assistant and in the lecture hall.

I have two quilts in the show. Please visit them!

You may remember Fade to Black. I love this quilt. More information about this quilt here.

The quilt you may not have seen is Paint Chip.  This quilt deserves its own blog post so I am going to keep this brief here. Rainbows make me happy and this quilt makes me so happy… This quilt feels like it brings its own sunshine.


I am going to be honest about this, I was nervous to share these quilts and tell you I have quilts in the show. There was so much chatter on the Internet about getting into the show and or not getting into the show. I don’t want to seem like I am too modest or brag too much. It is a hard line to tow sometimes.

Okay, off this subject. Talking about these things is hard for me.

I thought I would give you some fun facts about myself! I love lists!

1. Despite my blog name and adorable pig. I am allergic to mammal meat. So, I can’t eat bacon. It is an allergy from ticks, the moral of this story is that bug spray is good and I miss bacon.

2. For my day job, I am an archaeologist. This is not unrelated to fact one.  I travel a ton for work.

3. I grew up in the Portland, Oregon, which is where my parents still live. I moved to Colorado when I was 18 to go to college. I met my husband in college and then I followed him to North Carolina. Until I did that, I swore I would never move for a man. I have never ever regretted my decision to 

4. I am addicted to Pilates and Barre. I try to go to at least 4 classes a week when I am home.

5. My house is under 900 square feet and we have 12 quilts in our living room.

6.  I love to cook. My husband and I cook dinner together almost every night.

7. My favorite colors are blue, pink, and I love everything with cats on it. I am also super into kitsch.

I hope we get to meet at Quilt Con if you are going. If not, I promise to recap as much as I can. You should follow me on instagram (@stitchingandbacon) for the play-by-play.

Love you all friends! I hope you are having a great week!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Blue is a Happy Color Scrappy Quilt

I had trouble naming this quilt. I mean, it is just a quilt. It was not hard to make, I didn't spend a long time debating my fabric choices or patterns. But, I did enjoy every second I worked on this project. Sometimes just a quilt is just what you need.

We have had a tough couple of months in Bacon casa. No babies (at least ones that belong to us) or divorces, but life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes when you are THINKING so hard about everything in your life you need to enter your sewing room and not think at all. This is a project born out of my desire to meditatively cut fabric apart and sew it together. This is also a project born out of the fact that I could not close either of my two (two!) blue scrap bins. My two low volume scrap bins were also not closing anymore. My color choices were made for me.

Blue is also my favorite. A happy color for me.

I knew I needed something simple and I also needed to use small pieces (scraps, amiright). I did make some rules for myself. The best meditation is done within constraints. I could not cut yardage. In a pinch, I was allowed to use fat quarters. I was not allowed to think about placement. I cut. I sewed. I pressed. It took me less than a week to make this top.

My instagram friends and my husband both convinced me that bigger is better. So this is twin sized. I also decided I needed some quilts that fit beds.

I didn't want to think about quilting either. I also think this quilt demanded simplicity so I went for straight lines in a crosshatch. I didn't mark, just eyeballed the lines using the quilt.  I tried to play with thread color switching between blue and white Aurifil, but you can barely tell.

One of the best things about scrappy quilts are the little nuggets from other projects you find. There are gnomes, cats (so many cats), frogs, dots, bridges, birds. text, bicycles, metallics, flowers, and deer... to name a few. Did I mention this project had very few rules?

Just in case you want to make your own scrappy Irish chain (did I mention that this is an Irish chain?) here are some stats. I cut 2.5" squares for each of the nine patch blocks. The large low volume squares are 6.5" (unfinished). Each block is 6" square finished. It is 11 squares across and 15 squares tall (measuring 66" by 90", taller than my 6'1'' quilt holder).

So, my first true finish of 2015. I started on new years and had the whole thing done in January. Just blogging now. New years resolution is going well.

Sew Joy my friends.

I love you all and I promise life is going okay. I promise you I have some fun stuff planned. I am heading to Quilt Con in 11 days (!). I have a post planned about my quilts that are going to be hanging in the show and I have a fun blog hop coming up sewing with some gorgeous bright and happy Gina Martin fabrics.

Cheers! Let me know if you are coming to Quilt Con in Austin. I would love to meet everyone. I can be a little introverted, but I know that we will be friends because we all love quilting and fabric.

Quilt Stats:
Name: Blue is a Happy Color
Size: 66" by 90"
Fabric: Way too many to name, all the girls are here... the backing is Carolyn Friedlander's Widescreen in Yarrow (by Robert Kaufman)
Quilting: Straight line cross hatch with my trusty Aurifil in white and blue.
Finished: January 2015

PS - These photos were all taken at the Mast Farm Inn, Banner Elk, NC. Derek and I took a mini weekend vacation there this weekend to hike in the mountains and curl up by the fire. It is a charming, small (and romantic) inn, which I would highly recommend to my local (and not so local peeps) looking for a unique getaway.  We stayed in a renovated woodworking building, which was completely luxurious.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Cabin Couture: Michael Miller Challenge

I am writing this post from a hotel room in Tennessee. This trip is for work and it is pretty standard archaeology stuff... so I am tired physically and mentally. I thought I would use this hotel room time to catch up on some of my finishes that I have not blogged about. 

Welcome to Cabin Couture. 

I made this baby quilt for the Modern Quilt Guild's Michael Miller fabric challenge. The deal is, you sign up and they send you fat eighths of fabric. Then you make a quilt and you submit it to the judges. 

I am going to be real here, I did not love the pastel colors all together. I could not get inspired. We were supposed to use only cotton couture solids on the front. I loved the hand of the cotton couture. It is so soft. But I could not picture myself spending money on more of these colors I did not love.

So I got together some colors I did love and pulled out the pastels I loved. This combination was inspired by sunrises and warm days. I was trying to think about vintage quilts faded from years of use. 

I was inspired by traditional historic quilts. Simple and eye catching with clean lines. I want to make a really big one now....

The quilting is equally simple. These fabrics are so soft! This is a dreamy baby sized quilt.

It wasn't selected as a challenge finalist so it will go to a baby who will love it very soon, which is the perfect place for a quilt to go. I am pretty excited to hand this one off to a new baby! 

Quilt Stats: 
Quilt Name: Cabin Couture
Size: 40"x 40"
Fabric: Michael Miller Cotton Couture solids
Pattern: Log cabin
Quilting: Figure eight loops with Aurifil thread
Finished: November 2014

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Post in which I Discuss 2014 and Welcome 2015

I went through my photos to catalogue my makes from 2014 and I have to say my 2014 finishes were impressive. Both in quantity and quality. I am PROUD of this mosaic. My goal was two make more than 10 quilts, judging from this mosaic I made 13. That is 13 (!)  quilts. It is actually 16 quilts, because there is one I am waiting to share until after Quilt Con and two I just do not have good photos of (oops!). Some of the quilts in this mosaic have not been blogged about yet. Sorry!

Another goal was to donate two quilts to charity. I totally nailed that goal, two of these quilts were made for kids in need. I am trying to do my part to cover the world in quilts. Most importantly, I love both of these charity quilts. I always want to love my charity quilts, because I think everyone deserves to have something of beauty. Don't you?

I think I did stretch myself a little more as a quilter in 2104. I made things I love and tried new techniques. It made me feel like a rock star when I mastered a new technique or saw my creative ideas turn into something real.

I have serious regrets about 2014. I am just going to put it out here my friends, because I know that you will understand. I participated in a swap that made me feel used and a little unloved (don't I sound dramatic?). It is hard knowing that you have given a piece of yourself and your time to others and they did not care to fulfill their end of the commitment. The majority of my swap mates were not those people (and were amazing talented friends!), but it is hard sometimes to not let those few drag you down. Anyway, I am entering 2015 commitment free!

Exactly one year ago today I wrote this post. I just read it again and I think it was pretty great. The girl who wrote that post had her stuff together. I bet she would know what to write in this new years blog post. I bet she would not have writers block. She seems optimistic and fearless and full of goals. That girl does not seem to be with us today.

I still love lists, but this year the only sewing goal I can think of hardly warrants a list, but here it is.

1. Sew Joy.

That is it. Two words

Sure, I love finishing old works in progress. Yes, I want to expand and refine my skills in 2015. I am sure I would love to blog more and put myself out there more frequently. BUT, all of that is secondary to the real purpose of this all. All of this sewing, quilting, blogging, and creating is about joy. It is about fulfillment and happiness. It is about the part of me that wants needs to create and make. That needs to see the tactile made out of the theoretical.

Maybe at some point I will feel inspired to write a detailed list of tangible goals. For today, I am going to enter 2015 quietly and with one peaceful goal.

2015. You are going to be my year of joyful living. Please and thank you.

Happy new year friends! May it be full of health, happiness, and prosperity.

May it be full of joy.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bright Mountain for Dark Winter Days

There is a funny thing about a blog. When you go a bit without posting it is harder to post. It is a paradoxical notion for me because the longer I do not blog the more things I have to share. The more thoughts I have thought. But then I just have TOO much! It overwhelms me... and I go dark.

That, and I had to spend most of November in Tennessee for work. It is an awesome project, but really puts a damper on my blogging productivity. Strangely, I have finished a ton of projects. So here is project one!

Bright Mountain came about as the result of a guild charity challenge (Triangle Modern Quilt Guild!). We were given four fat quarters and minimum size and told to make a quilt. Truth alert: I hated two of my fat quarters. This stumped me for awhile. Then I realized, I am a grown adult making a quilt for charity.. I can use whatever fabric strikes my fancy. So, I pulled out the scrap bins and just started cutting.

I think scrap quilts are the most cathartic projects.

For this one I worked with a limited palette of bright yellow, navy blue, and "low volume" scraps. I did not use a pattern, but the block is a variation of the traditional Delectable Mountain block.

I did not count, I did not plan the placement... I just cut fabric up and sewed it back together.

It was balm for my soul.

The quilting is an all over angular pattern.

As soon as I can make it to a guild meeting (they are literally at the worst time of the week for me), this is going to head off to a Durham foster kid to snuggle underneath. I imagine it going to a little girl who is not a fan of pink or overly floral things... basically me as a kid. I imagine 12 year old me loving this. Hopefully, this is a bright point during some dark winter days.

I love you all. I hope you have a merry weekend before Christmas!

Quilt Stats
Name: Bright Mountain
Size:  approximately 50" by 60"
Fabric: Scraps! The "inspiration" from the challenge were Joel Dewberry herringbone and Modern Meadow yellow flowers
Quilting: Zagged all-over triangles with Aurfil Thread
Finished: November 2014 (thanks to binding help from my awesome friend Melissa)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop here comes the Bacon!

My dear Internet and real life friend Tessa (you may know her as The Sewing Chick), tagged me in the around the world blog hop. Tessa is the best. Three things about Tessa before I start: (1) She has the BEST sense of style, this lady can combine some fabrics to make it her own. (2) She is an immaculate and precise seamstress (sewer? sewist?). You know she knows what she is doing and if you need help with something, she knows how to do it and probably has some tricks. She taught me the best way to put on binding. Seriously the best. (3) She is hilarious and adorable. I am proud to call her my friend.

So as I understand it, I am supposed to answer some questions about myself and give you some insight into my soul or something like that.

Let’s start with the basic stats. I am 29 years old. I live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I have been married to my best friend for a little over 4 years and we have been together for over 10 years. He is a fabric purchase enabler, a photo shoot assistant, quilt namer, great cook, plays hockey, historian, and super hero (at least to me).

I grew up in Portland, Oregon, lived in Denver for six years. I love the east coast, but I secretly miss the mountains, gray skies, and skiing in Oregon.

For my day job, I am an archaeologist. It is not glamorous and I do not have a whip or fedora. I do travel a ton and sometimes I bring a sewing machine. My specialty in my field is really obscure and techy.

I learned to sew when I was super little. My best friend’s mom made all of her outerwear and I was so jealous. I distinctly remember a raincoat with a cat patch on it that was handed down to me that I wore OUT. Fortunate for me, Susan was happy to teach, although I was not a patient student. I also joined sewing 4-H in middle school, where a very patient woman taught me and one other girl basically everything I know today. Sometimes I wonder how she is doing and if her little daughter grew up to love sewing with the passion she instilled in me.

I basically forgot about all sewing until graduate school when my friend was trying to make something with her new sewing machine and I surprised everyone (myself included) by jumping in and showing her how do everything (she did not know how to sew). Apparently, I did not forget anything.

I got a sewing machine from my parents for Christmas after I graduated. I made my first quilt while Derek was in Germany doing dissertation research. I started my second quilt almost immediately and I have not stopped quilting since.

What is my style?
I don’t know. I like color and pattern. I make quilts with patterns and without. I often start a quilt without doing any math and remain unconcerned with the results until the end. I rarely buy fabric for a project, but instead I spend way too much time cultivating my stash. I love traditional patterns and, I guess, I tend to approach them from a “modern” slant. Sometimes, I just get an idea and go for it. At the end of the day we are all quilters and I try not to take myself too seriously. My dream project is to make a quilt with a giant cat on it, made out of cat fabrics I have collected over the years. I am putting that out here because I trust you, my friends, to not steal that idea.

What are you working on now?
I just finished an epic binding marathon, so I should have some new things to share here soon. As far as actually working on, I have two quilts all basted and ready to quilt (soon, very soon). I have my paint chip quilt that I am quilting. Otherwise, most of my other projects exist in only my head right now. 

What is my favorite project?
Hands down my clamshell. I pretty much always love my latest finish the most of anything, but finishing my Pink Chowder quilt taught me I can do anything. I cut, pieced and quilted that. So bring it on.  I also made that quilt with some of my dearest friends, they gave me fabric to use as clams, they encouraged me. They complimented me and teased me. They brought me starburst and onion dip and diet coke and wine. Friends are the best aren’t they?

I am not going to tag anyone here. Not because I don’t love you, but this hop has been going on for a bit and I don’t want to call out those who have already been called upon. This post is also over a week late. Woops! If you want to play, by all means! Link your post below; I want to know what you think. I promise.

I am sorry if this is a little stream of consciousness and a bit long. I am writing it in a hotel room, I am on a work trip this week. I have barely recovered from my trip to my grandmother’s house and I had a conference all last week. I had a great time visiting with family and colleagues, but I am bone tired from what feels like constantly talking for a week.

I love you all. Thanks for being here, thanks for making it this far. I give you this cat.