2013 International Quilt Show Recap

My daughter Kerstin and I went to the Quilt Show in Houston last weekend. This is my ninth quilt show – I’m really fortunate to live in the Houston area, so there’s no travelling or anything involved for me except to drive downtown to the convention center. It was her first, however, so I might ask her to write something up about how she felt about it.

Anyway, we didn’t make it all the way through the quilts, unfortunately. There were just too many of them (which is wonderful) and I had twisted my ankle on the way into the show so I was doing more of a hobble than a stroll through the aisles. LOL But here are a few of my favorites of the quilts we saw. Sadly, it was so freaking crowded and my ankle hurt so much, I didn’t get artist information for them so if you have that information, please share it with me and I’ll add it here later.

DSCN0523

DSCN0524

DSCN0526

DSCN0521

 

 

Tomorrow I’ll share a few more, so come back to see them! 🙂

Reflections

Recently, I went through some of the photos I’ve taken in the last few years and I came to a conclusion, one I think I’ve known all along but refused to acknowledge. I have lost my eye for photography. Perhaps I never really had an eye, but I know that the images I have taken in the last four or five years are decidedly less pleasing to me than the ones I took in years prior. And to be perfectly honest, I don’t really care too much that I’m not as good as I once was.

It’s like an era has ended for me.

For a while now, I’ve felt uninspired when it comes to photography and I thought that it was just because I was focused on quilting. And that might be a big part of it – while there’s still plenty in this world I haven’t taken pictures of, there isn’t a lot in my area that inspires me to go out several times a month and shoot. And gas has become so expensive, driving around to find things to take photos of is no longer a weekly occurrence. I’m lucky to be able to get out once a month to do a road trip even to look for interesting things to shoot. All of these things come into play in this situation.

But I’ve noticed lately that my photos just aren’t that good. Sure, I get a decent shot every once in a while, or at least I like to think I do, but so often when I blow them up to check the sharpness of the photo, I am sorely disappointed. Even with an auto-focus camera, my shots aren’t sharp. I use a tripod in low lighting. I never found a remote release for my camera when I bought it, so I use the self-timer to avoid camera shake. In many situations, I lock the mirror into the up position before taking the shot. And yet, my photos are most often blurry. I’m not sure if that’s a symptom of not shooting more often, or a cause.

 

At a small size, this photo looks fine, but click on it to see what happens at "full size" ...

At a small size, this photo looks fine, but click on it to see what happens at “full size” …

Twenty years ago, I was selective in what I shot because film and processing were expensive and I did not have the money to shoot everything multiple times. I had to get a good shot in one or two tries, and I think I was successful more times than I wasn’t. These days, I can go out and shoot for hours at a time and come home with nothing. Yep, I was better when I shot with film than I am now.

But the thing is … I don’t care too much. I’ve got a lot of money invested in my camera equipment, and I use it often – for taking photos of quilts, and the kids and things around the house. My camera does get used often – so often in fact, it’s rarely in the bag. I think, though, it’s likely to be the last DSLR I will buy, unless something happens to it and I have to buy a replacement – which will likely be something much cheaper and not as “high end” as this (in truth, it’s considered a mid-range camera by photography standards, but by consumer standards, I think we can all agree that any camera that costs more than $1000 isn’t something the average person buys to take snapshots of their family BBQ’s). And frankly, I don’t see that happening unless I drop this one in the drink or something.

I’m not saying I’m going to get rid of my camera, or that I’m going to stop taking photos, because neither of those things will happen. But I think it’s a bit of an explanation as to why I haven’t been discussing photography here lately – I don’t have anything to share or say because my photography mojo is just … gone. And if I’m honest with myself, this has been the case for a while now; it’s definitely not a new phenomenon – maybe dating back to before I sold all my sewing stuff in May 2012 and used the proceed to buy the Canon 60D sitting here on my desk right now. I don’t know when it started, but I do know I did a lot of shooting after I bought the camera and most of those images were not ones I wanted to share with anyone because they were not up to my standards. I thought back then that it was a lack of knowledge about the camera, and to a degree that might have been true. I think, though, it’s time to own the fact that my eyes aren’t what they used to be, both in quality so I can focus well and in the ability to choose and frame a scene in an aesthetically pleasing way.

I tend to bounce between quilting and photography, with quilting winning out more times in the last 12 or so years than photography. Photography is my first love and I’ll never give it up completely. Lately though, the thought has been rolling through the transom of my mind – have I loved photography for photography’s sake, or have I loved photography because it gave me an excuse to get out of the house and take long road trips?

The world – and I – may never know …

 

WIP Wednesday – Getting a good start on Pam’s Quilt

This week, I am starting on Pam’s quilt. Everything is cut out and I’ve got about half of the Block B blocks put together.

IMG_2935

Cute, huh?

IMG_2938

I’m hoping to be finished with these blocks today, so I can move on to Block A, which will take a little more time to put together because it’s like 25 2″ squares to sew together into a single block. Then I need to square them all up and put them together into a top. I think this quilt top should go together fairly quickly, and I’m looking into options for quilting it. My embroidery machine isn’t doing so hot but my mom has one she’s not using, so that’s an option. I think the Block B squares need some nice line embroidery, but we’ll see what I can work out.

This week is the Houston Quilt Festival! Yes, I’m going, on Saturday. My daughter is planning to go with me, so it should be fun – this will be her first quilt show. I wonder if she realizes how much walking will be involved?? If she does go, that means that only my son hasn’t ever been to one – think I can get him to go next year? Yeah, I don’t think so either. LOL Anyway, I’ll try to get some photos and post some of them here after the show. I cannot wait!

The New Studio

I mentioned in my post yesterday that I have a new studio, and since it’s nearly done, I thought I would share some photos. It’s a small room, but it’s very nice and I think it will work well.

First up, as you walk in the door from the hallway, to the right is my desk – this isn’t only my studio but also my office. I work at home several days a week, and previously, my office space was in my master bedroom. This would be fine if my husband kept “normal” working hours, but he doesn’t. The office was the original intended use for this room, but as  you will see, it became much more than that.

IMG_2684

 

 

On the next wall, my sewing machine …

IMG_2679

 

 

And then some storage on the wall directly across from the entrance …

IMG_2682

 

 

And then my cutting area is just to the left of the door.

IMG_2677

 

 

One of my favorite things about the room is this grid I bought to hang all of my rulers and some of my cutting implements (no this isn’t all of them, and trust me, you don’t want to SEE them all) …

IMG_2678

 

 

There are, of course, other things I want to do, like add some shelving above the desk, and some decorations to the walls. I also have every intention of building a new cutting table with storage under it. I know that it looks sort of empty right now but that’s because I’ve gone through and purged a great deal of crap. LOL And that chest of drawers hides a multitude of sins … which by the way, belongs to my daughter. Her grandparents gave it to her when she was born, and it needs to be refinished, but it’s 105 degrees in the afternoons right now, so I’ll wait till fall, thank you very much. Further, at some point I’m sure she’s going to want it back – once she has a place of her own – so it’s not permanent. When I need to replace it, I will probably do so with more of the baskets, because I love those things.

I’ll post more photos as I change/update things, but I was so excited, I couldn’t wait to share!

Until next time,

Me