I finally join in on the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop.

This blog hop has absolutely flown by! It seems that it was just days ago that I was signing up for it, but nearly two months have gone by, and here we are in our final week. Welcome to all readers, new and regular; thank you for stopping in to visit as we wrap up our 2015 New Quilt Bloggers hop.

It’s been such an adventure for those of us who’ve been involved. We’ve all learned a lot about the technical aspects of blogging, joined a wonderfully vibrant quilting community, and (for many of us at least) really stepped out of our comfort zone and migrated, at least temporarily, from the comfortable obscurity of our small blogging circles, and reached out to a much wider audience.

Before I go any further, I’d like to acknowledge the debt of gratitude all of us 2015 New Quilt Bloggers owe to our hive leaders/organizers/the ladies who’ve devoted a ridiculous amount of time to helping us all out. Please feel free to stop by and visit Terri Ann, Yvonne, Cheryl, and Stephanie: they all run wonderfully creative blogs.  They’ll also have some lovely prizes up for grabs.  I’m particularly grateful to Terri Ann for organizing our hive, Sewcial Swarm.

Sewcial Swarm - 2015 New Quilt Bloggers
A little about me:

Jolly and Me: January 2013.
Jolly and Me: January 2013.

I’m Jane Victoria, an Australian who now lives in Las Vegas, NV – a proud member of the Las Vegas Modern Quilt Guild – fighting my never-ending wanderlust, and wondering whether I might be able to settle down here. I live with my husband Nick, our miniature Schnauzer (or moving mop, depending on how long it’s been since he’s had a haircut) Jolly, and our two Siamese cats, Merthin and Delilah. I really did try to include them all in my blog name, because when I started quilting I didn’t have a dedicated studio; I was working on the dining table, and all three of the pets added their own unique personal touches to my quilting experience. It’s just so difficult to make the name Merthin (that one comes from Ken Follett’s World Without End, which I’d read just before adopting him) sound… well, like that name of my cat, and not a word that I’d be constantly receiving requests to define.

Nick and Me at our wedding in Sydney: February 2015.
Nick and Me at our wedding in Sydney: February 2015.

I started quilting in late 2012 when I was living in Boston. It was initially predominantly a mental and creative escape from  my studies, and something that I could do completely from home, which is a huge bonus during those frightfully cold and miserable winter months. I didn’t expect how quickly I’d be completely hooked. This craft needs to come with a warning label! It wasn’t long until it became completely consuming, and to many grumblings from Nick, the house quickly became filled with fabric. It would have been advisable for me to attend a few classes in those early days. I spent so much time working on projects that were utter failures, which in itself is fine, but if I hadn’t been overconfident in my ability to work things out myself I would have at least started with some fabric that I didn’t absolutely adore, and was easily replaceable – and a public apology to a certain section of the sewing community for what I did to some vintage Tula back when it was affordable, and I didn’t know any better than to prewash all of my fabrics.

It wasn’t that I was a fabric snob back then, it was simply that I found that Riley Blake and Free Spirit produced much more exciting prints than the lines Fabric Place Basement stocked did, and that Kona produced more vibrant colors than those cottons I could purchase in Joann. I still wouldn’t call myself a fabric snob; my preferences simply lean in certain directions. If you fall in love with the fabrics in a big box store, by all means, by them, create with them, and adore what you’ve made.  Just note that there may be differences in quality between these and the types of fabrics you find in dedicated quilt stores that may affect the accuracy of your piecing, and the longevity of your quilt.

I felt as though I outgrew the Singer that I started piecing on very quickly. There was nothing particularly wrong with it, only that it’s not designed for quilting, and didn’t have an automatic needle position button. I gave up quilting on the domestic very quickly, but still decided to upgrade to a Bernina 580, which has made my life much easier. It’s much quieter than it’s predecessor, runs more smoothly, and tackles the binding with a relative amount of ease. I recently purchased the Bernina 350 special edition for travel and classes. I was very sure that I wouldn’t need one, but I admit that I got sold on the convenience that came with it being smaller and lighter than my 580. Plus, it’s so pretty!

I started longarm quilting in 2013. I wasn’t under any illusion at the time that I’d ever be able to replace my quilter, Mandy, but I was curious about the process. I found a rental shop not too far away from me, and after Laurena taught me how to use her Gammill I dived right in. There was a huge learning curve, during which I felt incredibly frustrated by seemingly endless parade of professionals consistently telling the world “if you can draw it, you can quilt it.” It takes time to learn how to manipulate those machines, but I stuck with it, and eventually started producing quilting that wasn’t horrible.  Plus, Laurena was just a lovely person to work with, and we both learned so much from each other.

I now own an Innova 26″ longarm with Lightening Stitch, and after some teething problems, I’m now creating quilting that I’m proud of.  I’ve been doing a lot of work in manual, because I felt as though it was something that I should learn, but honestly, the regulator on this machine is so sensitive, the manual option is almost redundant.

I swear: it wasn’t my intention to remain hidden in the shadows of the blog hop until the very end. Unfortunately, between the time that I signed up for this, and our getting our groups together, my designer suddenly found the time start work on my site. There had been a lot of back and forth about what we were going to create together – all right, mostly about what Nila was going to create on my behalf – and I wasn’t aware that she was going to start work when she did. It’s been a little frustrating to find my site shifted to a strange domain, but in a way, the timing was almost perfect. It’s been very convenient to be able to update her with design ideas as our group discussions progressed. It’s so close to being ready to go – as in it’s mostly built, but I need to create a lot of content for it – but unfortunately I don’t have it completely set up at this time. Stay tuned. I’ll definitely be doing something fun when we officially launch.

That said, holding out until the last week has some advantages. It’s been wonderful to see how everyone else has introduced themselves and what questions they’ve asked the community.

I apologize if I’ve done the textual equivalent of talking your heads off; it’s a slight habit of mine. So, let’s get down to some of my favorite quilts.

Chatterbox. Designed by Boo Davis. Quilted by Mandalei.

Chatterbox was the first quilt top I made, although not the first quilt I finished. It was certainly an adventure, and I learned a lot from the experience, a lot of it falls in to the “things not to do” category, but it turned out very well.

Kite Flight

Kite Flight was a quilt that I really enjoyed making because of the wonderful colors. At the time I started making mine, it was simply a free pattern by Better Off Thread lurking on the Robert Kaufman pattern site. Since then, Craftsy has released several kits in multiple colorways, and it’s taken on something of a life of its own. It’s touching to see how many people still make their way to my site when they’re researching this quilt, although how they find it, I have no idea.

Shoreline. Designed by Tula Pink. Quilted by Mandalei.

Shoreline is a free pattern by Tula Pink, and I tweaked the math a little, and turned it in to a queen-size quilt. It was wonderful to finally have a quilt that fitted on my bed and I could sleep under.

Now we’re down to the part where I have to try and impart some advice on the quilting community.  I feel incredibly under qualified for this.

A general tip: take all advice with a grain of salt. Some things work for some people, but not for others, and if something isn’t working for you, consider ditching it. I spent a month wondering why I couldn’t tension my machine properly, and it simply came down to me assuming that everything an expert told me was going to work perfectly for me.

A blogging tip: be yourself. Don’t stress yourself out trying to tick boxes that don’t fit your style, or take up too much of your time. People will love your work for what it is, and you for your authentic self.

A piecing tip: shorten your stitch length. My machine has a default setting of 2.5. Turning it down to 2.0 adds so much stability to the ends of my seams. They no longer pull apart when I go to match them up, and the edges don’t pull apart when the quilt is on the frame.  It also helps to run a line of stitching about 1/8 of an inch from the edge around your entire quilt top to hold everything together.

A quilting tip: don’t be afraid to try new things. Just set up some muslin and a scrap of batting and play around.  It’s amazing how often I’ve come across people either at shows, or in my online quilting communities, who are just plain afraid to experiment.

There’s been a lot of discussion on the hop so far about what people like to watch and/or listen to while they work. My friends and I got together and decided that English drama was the preferable choice for most fabric and yarn based craft types. Or maybe we all just really like English drama.

It’s really tough to come up with a question for you all that hasn’t already been asked by at least one hop participant…  What is the your oldest active (as in, you plan to finish it and haven’t given up on it yet) UFO, and when do you think you’ll get around to working on it again, or dare I say finishing it? I’ll be honest: I donated a ton of UFOs to my guild. I hope that someone will be able to turn them in to something great, but I knew that I just wasn’t going to get around to them.  I do have a few paper pieced hexie projects from 2013 that I’m yet to finish, but have vague ideas as to what I’ll do with them.

Thank you again for reading. If you have the time, please stop by and visit some of my fellow 2015 New Quilt Bloggers.  As usual, Yvonne has been kind enough to compile a complete list.

Until next time, happy sewing!

– Jane

Published by

Jane Victoria / Jolly and Delilah

Machine quilter and fabric enthusiast, currently living in Las Vegas, NV. www.jollyanddelilahquilts.com www.facebook.com/jollyanddelilah Twitter @jollyanddelilah Instagram @jollyanddelilah

27 thoughts on “I finally join in on the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop.”

  1. Kite Flight is just beautiful! I love the colour play in it.

    My oldest UFO is a Storm at Sea flimsy. Knowing no better, I drew round cardboard templates. It seems flat enough, but I think I’ll try to hand quilt it with big stitch quilting; I love free motion but I worry it would pucker.

  2. Wow, I love Kite Flight! So vibrant and the colors are killing me! Your quilts are beautiful! I seriously try not to have and WIP/UFO’s! For the most part I don’t. What I do have is half finished projects that my daughter abandoned! I just finished her Star quilt for years ago, and there are another two or three I plan on getting my hands on too! It was fun getting to know you!

    1. Hi Jayne: thanks for popping in. Thank you for your kind compliments. I know what you mean about your daughter’s projects. We did that to Mum and Sue often when we were growing up. I was probably the main culprit; I just had such trouble sticking with things. You must be one of the few quilters I’ve met who doesn’t have a ton of WIPs or UFOs. It’s quite astounding.
      – Jane

  3. This is the first time I’ve come across Kite Flight. It’s gorgeous. I also love shoreline. I felt incredibly unqualified to give advice as well but I guess the idea of online community is that we are like friends helping each other out rather than experts. I enjoyed reading your post and about how you came up with your name.

    1. Hi Lisa: thanks for stopping in, and for your compliments. I think the reason I feel under qualified to give advice is because there are so many different skill levels in this group. I started blogging about a year after I started quilting, whereas other members of our group have been doing it for decades. You are right though; it is about us helping each other out if we can, which is why I said to take my advice with a grain of salt, but I hope some it works for someone out there.
      – Jane

  4. I had a UFO that was about 2 years old that I just gifted to a friend because I knew it was a project that I was not going to pick up and finish. That is pretty unusual for me. I had a 9 year old WIP that I finished about a year ago, so admitting defeat on a fairly “new” one really was an honest reflection on the fact I probably should not have started it in the first place. 😉 It sounds like you are off on a great adventure with your blog, and I hope that it is as fun a journey as quilting as been for you.

    1. Thanks Yvonne. I think we all start projects that we’re not completely passionate about, or we underestimate the time commitment, and they fall by the wayside. I’ve been enjoying the blog a lot more since I’ve discovered link parties.
      Thank you very much for your help over the last few weeks. It’s been such fun getting to know you.
      – Jane

  5. Jane. It is such a pleasure to learn more about you and your quilting journey! I love it! I also own an Innova long arm and just enjoy long arming on it too! The chatterbox quilt is such a unique design and just looks magnificent with the fabrics you selected. I also have lived many different places during my life not internationally but within the United States. The home I am in now is the longest I have lived anywhere which is 12 years before this home the longest I had lived somewhere was 5 years. You have learned and made so much with quilting so quickly, I am very impressed. I have my share of UFO’s but they are mainly finished quilt tops that I love so much that I just can’t decide what patterns of long arming to use to quilt them so they express every ounce of how I feel about them! Funny eh? We will have to collaborate on WordPress ideas for our blogs!!! I feel personally connected to you after reading your post great writing!

  6. Hi Deanna: Thank you for popping by (even though you were slightly obligated to). I feel very similar about my UFOs. They’re either active WIPs, that work on every couple of weeks or so, or they’re finished tops, waiting for quilting. Is it worth starting a how do I quilt this group or link party, do you think? Some of my problem is that I know what I want to do with certain quilt tops, but I just don’t feel as though I’m at the right skill level yet. Yes, yes, I know that finished is better than perfect, but I’d rather have an imperfect interpretation of my vision, than have to do something completely different than I’d wanted.
    I feel as though we’ve gotten to get to know each other well over the last couple of weeks. I hope we stay in touch. I’m always happy to have people collaborate with.
    – Jane

  7. I have a quilt Crackerjack, all the cutting is done but have not started sewing. Other projects happened: a quilt for #1 Granddaughter’s wedding, a Dr. Who quilt for #2 Granddaughter and a quilt for adopted Granddaughter.

  8. I have a Quilt Block of the Month called Queen and her Court. I took the class many years ago. I pieced it and made the quilt sandwich. I’ve hand quilted it about one-quarter of the way. But honestly it’s not my style any more. I know it will be a wonderful quilt when it’s finished but I just can’t muster the motivation to finish it. I may donate it to Goodwill. I feel this sense of guilt about doing that, fearing it will languish in a bin. It had so much potential. Letting go is really hard.

    1. This is one of the reasons I don’t have quilt. Actually, the main one. It’s looks wonderful, but I’m so sure it would end like that. Just too much of a time commitment.

      I recommend trying to donate it to a guild (or even seeing if you LQS can pass it on to a good home. Unless you live in an area where sewing is incredibly popular, it seems inevitable that the unfinished quilts do languish. I see so many of them, and I buy tops from time to time, but nothing that’s quilted or basted. It is much easier when you can let it go to someone who you know will have it finished up. Hence why my WIPs move across the country with me and ended up in a guild here.

      Thank you very much for the share. It’s much appreciated.

  9. Hello, nice to meet you! I love your quilts, they’re beautiful! If I might make a suggestion, the photos are pretty small and I’d love to be able to see a bigger picture, especially as your photos are so prettily styled too. I totally agree with your advice to be yourself when writing a blog, I think it comes across when someone is trying to be something they’re not. i really enjoyed reading your post so it’s definitely working for you!

    1. Hi Wendy: thank you for stopping by and commenting.

      Thank you for the suggestion; I’ll reformat the page. I keep asking my husband to give me larger images, and completely forgetting that I can resize them on the page. I do lose a little in image quality when I enlarge them, but hopefully it’s not too bad.

      Thank you for validating me. I’m kind of joking, but I was a bit worried about some of the blogging advice I’ve seen recently. The thing I love about the blogs I read is the authenticity of the writers. Others I look at simply for tutorials or patterns, but that’s about it. It goes back to something that Terri Ann at Meadow Mist Designs said the other day. Many quilters don’t know anyone they can talk to about what they do personally (or like me, they meet up with them all once a month) and the online community is primarily how we connect with each other. Here, just as in the physical world, I’m drawn to people who are open and come across as sincere.

      Thank you again for stopping by.

  10. You’d be surprised at some of the fabric Fabric Place Basement carries now. They’ve greatly increased the variety and manufacturers they carry. 🙂 (They need more purple and blue solids, though.) Were you in Boston Modern Quilters when you lived out here? We have some people in our guild that are in Boston Modern also.

    It was interesting to find someone formerly from my area in a quilt blog hop.

    1. Hi Cheri. Thank you for stopping by.

      I used to buy solids at Fabric Place Basement, because they carried Kona, but I didn’t really fall in love with any of the prints. I’m actually in the middle of a conversation with one of my Australian friends about the way the internet and online shopping has changed the way that artists work, and I wonder how happy I might have been with their selection if I hadn’t known what else was out there.

      I didn’t get around to joining any of the guilds in Boston. I wish I had, but none of my quilting friends were members of any, and therefore couldn’t recommend them.

      I’m sure there was someone on the blog hop who’s in Boston, but unfortunately it wasn’t who I thought it was, so I’ll have to think on it for a while.

      And really, I think that there aren’t ever enough blue and purple solids (and do purple prints even exist? I wish there were more of those) unless one shops with a very large online retailer.

      Thanks again for stopping by Cheri.

      – Jane

  11. Great post, Jane. It’s so nice to get to know more about you and your quilting journey. Your Chatterbox quilt is beautiful, I love the monochromatic colour palette you chose. My longest standing WIP is a toss cushion that I’ve pieced for several years. One day I’ll get around to quilting and assembling the thing!
    Thanks for the lovely comment on my blog hop post, I tried responding earlier but that pesky WordPress/Blogger no-reply blogger thing got in the way. Why can’t those two just play nice – jeez! 🙂

    1. Thank you for stopping by Liz. I’ve been chatting with a few people about the no reply issue that resurfaced last week. Honestly, the only reason I have a gmail account is to chat to people who use blogger. Why are they making it so hard for us to chat? I’m worried about whether this is going to get back to you, so I’ll email you a copy as well. This whole experience has shown me how incredibly and unnecessarily complicated it is communicate with others.
      Thank you for the compliment about my Chatterbox quilt. The big secret is that my husband wanted something purple.
      I hope you get around to that pillow. It seems that most everyone I spoke to was pretty good about following through with the finish. I have somewhere around twenty five orphan tops, and they’ll eventually get quilted, but it’s taking some time for me to work out exactly what I want to be doing with them.
      Thank you again for dropping in. I hope we stay in touch.
      – Jane

  12. So nice to finally meet you! I really like that Chatterbox quilt, great purples. Nice photo too, creative. I may use that one next time I’m taking a quilt photo! Hmm, my oldest UFO isn’t very old (and I wished I had none at all…ha. I don’t like things unfinished). I think less that a year. Though if you count the one I gave up on after one block, as it was not my style and I let myself be talked into it, then 3 years I think. I’ve decided to turn the block into a pillow and integrate the fabric into my stash!

    1. Hi Brianna,

      I didn’t get an email notification of your reply, so unfortunately I have to continue the conversation here and hope that you somehow find out about it.

      It’s great when you cane rope a third person in to your quilt photography (although it’s not as though I have a ton of people offering to help out). Most of the time it’s hard enough to find time to work things out with my husband, who does almost all of it.

      It’s so easy to get talked in to things that aren’t your style, isn’t it? Particularly when they’re educational. I’m so pleased that you found something to do with that block!

  13. Sorry it took me so long to come up to your blog. Your quilts are lovely! I really like how you play with color and is not afraid of failures (with the longarm for example). I don’t have many UFO’s hanging around. I try to finish everything (TRY…but sometimes it takes a long time). Right now the only one is a top I made 2-3 weeks ago, but I’ll probably quilt it soon. Thanks for sharing. It was great cyber meeting you. 🙂

    1. It means a lot that you stopped by Silvia. It’s been incredibly difficult to keep up with everyone’s posts, so thank you for taking the time to read mine.

      I don’t think I’d ever make anything if I were worried about it not turning out. Eventually I hope I’ll get to a point where things run smoothly all the time, but I want to keep learning, and that only happens if I want to experiment with things. I hope it’s a fun journey.

      I’m always amazed when people don’t have a ton of orphan tops laying around. I’m thinking it might take a year to get through the stash I have now, and of course, I always want to make more.

      It was lovely to digitally meet you too. I look forward to seeing where you go with your quilting.

      – Jane

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