Ralli Quilts and Conversations

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I was fascinated by all the comments left on my last post about whether to not you choose to answer every comment on your blogs.  The trigger, of course, was a couple of articles from 99U which is a site geared toward business types.  In talking about this with Cindy, of Live a Coloful Life, we both remember the early days of blogging, where reply comments were not the norm, but instead of replying to a comment, you’d head over to their blog and leave a comment.  A couple of comments referred to this, such as this one from Barb: “I also would rather someone comment on my blog rather than spending time replaying to my comment on theirs. That would be a great agreement; instead of replaying, comment more on others blogs.”

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Some of you came up with your own name for those snippets of comments. I liked Susan’s observation: “‘Nice Quilt’ is what I would consider a conversation ender. If someone says something like “that’s a really nice quilt, I like the blah feature” then I consider that a conversation opener.”

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Nancy echoed many comments when she wrote “I like the interaction between people, albeit virtual, through blogs. I have made some blogging friendships of which I am truly glad. I leave comments about blogs that have given me inspiration, a lesson, beauty, a smile, or something to think about–the start of maybe a brief conversation.  I think of blogging as a way to interact with others of like interests. In my smaller physical community, it is difficult to find the more artistic quilters or those who self-design, so I turn to blogs.”

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I’ll leave the final word to Claire about our blog reading, as she describes exactly how I feel: “All this assumes a normal day with a leisurely coffee break while I read email and blogs. Other days I skim and probably miss wonders.”

Well said, Claire.

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All of these quilts are from an exhibit I recently saw in Utah at the Brigham Young University Museum of Art.  They are known as Ralli Quilts, and are from Pakistan and India (see map at end of post). I was amazed at all the stitching, the detail, and the colors (like the quilt above–I couldn’t get my camera to adjust to the deep reds).

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These were all found by Dr. Patricia Stoddard, a friend of my sister Susan (who tipped me off to this exhibit).  The website about these quilts is found *here* and is interesting reading. Her book, a veritable catalogue of the quilts, can be obtained *here.*

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I loved the contemporary look of these quilts, many made in the 1970s.  There are several sites that sell newer ralli quilts and can be found by a search on Google.

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This reminded me of the Trip Around the World Quilts, a sensation on Instagram last year.

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Improv piecing anyone?  Often the women saved time by piecing printed textiles together, rather than doing their appliqué.

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One of my favorites; I put the closeup on Instagram.  It was a good afternoon there at the museum, looking at quilts that are out of our quilting mainstream, a good antidote to the quilt market frenzy on social media.  Their vivid colors and patterns reminded me that time spent with patchwork and colors can bring a quiet satisfaction and an entry into the wider world of quilting.

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Map

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Our Four-in-Art quilt group will be revealing their final challenge of this year on November 1st.  Occasionally we have an opening for someone who wants to play along.  No shipping required, just a willingness to engage in new ideas, new techniques of your own choosing.  Leave a comment and your blog address if you are interested.

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And then a couple of days after that, I’ll have my November Circle Block ready to show you, plus a variation that may interest you for the holidays!

Thinking about our Dialogue: Comments


E-Mail Concept
(illustration from *here*)

Okay, quilters, fess up.  How many of you feel compelled to answer back every comment that shows up on your blog, whether it needs an answer or not?  Those comments land on our blogs, our IG feeds, and sometimes Flickr posts, then often make our way to our email boxes.  Do you need to respond to them?  Should you respond to them?

According to the 99U article on being efficient with our time, we should not respond unless there is a question.  Yet Seth Godin observes that “many people do, because there doesn’t seem to be a great alternative. It’s asymmetrical, and productivity loses to politeness.”

So according to Godin we choose being polite vs. being productive.  You should know that I am the Thank-You-Note Queen of the Universe, taught well by my mother.  I try to write a thank you to every gift, or acknowledge some kind gesture.  I believe in thank you notes.  But the digital universe is not the same thing as the real world.  I say, if the the comment requires some response or has a question, I try to answer them. However, I don’t write back to every comment on my blog because some are of the “drive-by” quality: “nice quilt,” or “great colors” or “Awesome!” I’ve left a few “drive-by comments” myself and I’m just acknowledging the blog post or the blogger’s work or the subject, and I certainly don’t expect a response.

In a related article, Elizabeth Saunders recommends that “Before you send a reply, ask yourself: are you responding just to reply, to show you’re paying attention, or just to say “thanks?” If so, you’re typically wasting time that could be spent producing something of value and only encouraging people to respond, thus adding more email to your inbox.”

She has a great point, but some of my treasured long-distance friendships have come about because of the correspondence that developed from their first comment, and I’m loathe to pass up a gold– or a silver — friend.  As Scott Belsky says, “My thinking: email may drive us crazy, but it is still a form of communication with people, and communication helps build relationships.”  It’s a balance. Often comments springboard me to a new post, as engaged readers have interesting things to bring to the conversation.  I often view this whole process as a dialogue, reading each comment carefully, weighing and considering what was written, enjoying our discussion.

What do you do?  Do those comments in your inbox nag you until you answer them all?  Or do you use Saunder’s advice, responding when needed?

Thinking About Light

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The next challenge reveal for our Four-in-Art Group is coming up on November 1st, and I’ve been thinking about the theme and how to interpret it.  The year-long theme is Urban, and this challenge is Light, Lighting, Lights.  Since we are city- or manmade-based this year, that lets out things like the Northern Lights, moon, sun or stars.

My Urban Lights

We actually have an art installation here in LA, in the museum of art, titled “Urban Lights,” and it is a series of vintage lampposts ranging from large to small and as early as the 1900s.  Scroll quickly through the following photos to see what a magnet this is for Los Angelenos (all taken from Instagram):

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And then I went browsing through some of our own photos, gathering scenes where I’d photographed light:

Bologna

A rainy night in Bologna

Montreal Church Stained Glass

Stained glass in Montreal

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A government building–I love the different tonalities of light here

Montreal Museum of Art

I photographed these glass panels a bunch of times, trying for the right exposure and balance
(Montreal Art Museum)

Montreal St Josephs

Montreal-Street-Lights

Notre Dame Montreal

Quebec City Doorway

Quebec City doorway

Shanghai FreewaysShanghai freeway intersection

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And two light “paintings” by James Turrell.  The lower one is actually a doorway you step through into a light-filled room.

Turrell Room Light

I have a lot of thinking to do before I start on this new theme!

Criss-Cross Finished!

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It all started with a request to join the Friendship X and + Swap, me digging out one lonely block from the back of the closet, marooned there from when I’d started to make the blocks but abandoned the project, and an invitation from Krista.  And now I can show you the finished quilt.

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Lounging around on my new gate in my re-done landscape.

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To go with this scrappy quilt, I used up odds and ends of binding ends, plus cut a few more pieces here and there.

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The back: IKEA music fabric.

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Some days you make a fancy printed label, but when the fabric is so fun with lines and notes, I think some days you should write the label.  So I did.

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The stained glass effect of the front showing through the musical back.  It’s done!
For more posts about this quilt, type “cross” into the search box on the right; you’ll get several, including one that has a diagram of the pattern I used.

This is #136 on my 200 Quilts List.

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Free Pattern for Shopping Bags

As the Governor of California recently signed a bill banning those single-use shopping bags that we all get at the grocery stores, we’ve all been buzzing about what to replace it with.  There is still the paper bag, but a section of the bill suggests paying 10-cents for each shopping bag (even though Ralph’s and Trader Joe’s now offer them for free).  Whether you hate this bill or love it, a shopper still needs to come up with a way to carry their groceries home.

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I made my first bags out of lightweight canvas, and figured out how to get two out of one yard of fabric. Because these are canvas, I didn’t need to put the handles all the way to the bottom seam.  However, if you are making it out of lightweight cotton, you might consider doubling up on that to make it sturdier, or yes, buying some webbing for your handles.

Whenever I use these, I get positive comments from the checkers. . . and a whole slew of awful stories about those re-usable plastic bags that some people have.  One clerk told me that he unzipped one and a whole bunch of moths flew out into the store.  Another talked about the smell of those bags that are re-used and re-used.  I think we quilters have the best possible world with our cloth bags, which can be thrown in the washer.  Apparently bags at the produce counter and at the butcher’s counter are still okay, so I don’t have to worry about those grocery items messing up the cloth bags.

Shopping Bag Pattern

I’ve written it up in a downloadable PDF pattern that is free: OPQuilt’s Shopping Bag Pattern.

Just send back some good karma, if you wouldn’t mind, and always practice good attribution, acknowledging that it’s from OPQuilt.com.  To do so, please do not post the pattern on your blog, nor print off five copies for your friends.  Instead link back here, and let them print off their own.  Thanks.