Sunday, June 14, 2009

Blues In the Night Quilt (By NeedleLove2)

Retro Reds Scrappy Quilt (by NeedleLove2)

Interview with Bonnie (NeedleLove2)

If you work with fabric long enough, you begin to understand what an amazing array of textures there are. All fabrics are not equal. Some, mostly inexpensive and synthetic materials, are waxy and clogged. Some, utilitarian fabrics, are coarse, though strong. Others are fabulously soft, vibrant, almost alive. For some people, working with fabric goes beyond the pragmatic, thinking level and becomes an experience of sensation. The way the warp and weave feels in your hands, the way the needle and thread move through the fabric (the sound, even), how the finished piece drapes or holds a ruffle--these are all qualities fabric reveals about itself. Fabric holds within it, endless opportunities and delights that only other, like-minded people understand.

Recently I met Bonnie, the creative inspiration behind NeedleLove2. She graciously agreed to share some thoughts on fabric, quilting and how creativity brings a sense of calm to her life.

"I have been a Fiber-Holic long before anyone coined the term," Bonnie tells me, "Since I was a small child, I began with doll clothes, my clothes, my kids' clothes, other people's clothes, and then I discovered yarn and fiber and quilting, and the rest is history. It has always been my passion and I attribute this to my Scottish ancestors, who were textile workers by trade. I love the feel of yarn or wool, or fabric in my hands, and I guess you could say I'm a touchy-feely person!"

Bonnie has sewn for many years and began quilting about ten years ago. "I tend to be a scrappy quilter and rarely make the same thing twice," Bonnie continues. I love fiber, thread, fabric and yarn. I have made quilts and knitted items for friends and family." She opened her shop in October, 2008 where she offers quilts, table runners, purses and bags, potholders, aprons and receiving blankets. "I have a new venue for my creative tendencies and plan to continue working at my Dream Job."

When life becomes challenging, Bonnie turns to her hobbies or, as she describes them, "obsessions" to gain relief. "I find that when I'm working in my element," she says, it calms my troubled soul by enabling me to do that which I feel comfortable with. There is peace in repetition, whether it be spinning yarn, hand sewing a binding on a quilt, or the quiet clicking of my knitting needles. It gives me time to reflect on the problem at hand as I work through it in my mind. I'm sure this is why I gain so much enjoyment from my needlework, because I am doing something I know. I am familiar with it and it calms me."

This creative, often meditative work, also gives Bonnie time to reflect not just on family and her creative work, but on larger issues such as the state of the earth's environment. "It boggles my mind how much pollution we have poured into this Mother Earth, and now I learn it is also orbiting the earth's atmosphere!" she says. "Another aspect of pollution involves our rivers, streams and oceans. Too many water supplies have been compromised. That's too much. We've got to find ways to stop abusing the planet.”

For her own part, Bonnie tries her best to reuse, reduce and recycle—a practice taught to her by her mother. Recycling is a part of her own family's life as well. “I'm proud to say that each of my children are great recyclers, too. It seems like a small step, but if you consider the amount of trash one family can generate in just a week, it almost seems obscene!” She also recommends reading labels and becoming more aware of what impact we, as consumers, have on the environment. “We all need to be aware of what we consume each day and what we are pouring down the drains.” As concerned citizens, we need to do our part to reverse the damage that has already been done to the earth, air and water and to help restore the health of the planet.

Bonnie loves reading more and more, gravitating toward biographies or human interest stories "where one can overcome adversity and triumph in the end." Some of her favorites are: The Diary of Mattie Spenser by Sandra Dallas, Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, Crashing Through by Robert Kurson, and Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen. More of Bonnie's favorite books may be found on her blog.

Bonnie also loves many kinds of music. "I am not musically talented in any way," she admits. "Strictly a listener unless I'm in the shower or on the road by myself, then I sing my little heart out!"

When it comes to shoes, Bonnie is all about comfort. "I like to try and coordinate my shoes with whatever I'm wearing, but if they're not comfortable, they're not mine."

You may find more information about Bonnie and her work in her shop and on her blog.

Along with the Quiltsy Team, Bonnie is a member of a local group of quilters who provide much inspiration and support.

What Shoes Bonnie Wears

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Woman and Three Flowers ACEO

Introducing my newest design: Woman and Three Flowers. This is based (loosely) on a self-portrait quilt I made few years ago. Being totally addicted to ACEOs, lately, I shrunk the design to 2.5 inches (6.4cm) by 3.5 inches (8.9cm). I would love to have your feedback!


Monday, June 8, 2009

Hiking My Way to The Traveler

I have done two hikes this spring toward my goal of hiking "the Traveler" in Baxter State Park at the end of the summer. It is a 10+ mile loop over three different mountain ridges. The trail pretty much kicked my butt last year. I am resolved not to let a bunch of rocks and dirt get the best of me.

The first hike of the season for me was one up the North Ridge of Cadillac Mountain, down to the Gorge Trail, up Dorr Mountain and back to the Park Loop Road.

This picture was taken near the top of Cadillac overlooking Bar Harbor, Maine:

Not sure if this was on Cadillac or Dorr, but it will give you another view:

Here is me after climbing the North Ridge to Cadillac and starting down the trail that leads into the Gorge and then back up Dorr Mountain:

The following are pictures taken on the second hike. We explored the Sargent Mountain area (on the Northeast Harbor side of Acadia National Park). The trail took us through the woods and along a stream. Beautiful! (BF took these in black and white).