Friday, January 16, 2009


What did we do with those piles of thread? We experimented and played with it. We captured the thread and packed it down in layers. What I did was process this. I thread played. I didn't finish anything, I played. I had a great time.

As a child I know I didn't get enough time to play in a play room. I didn't get enough freedom to play. Those comments aren't an indictment (yep, my mom reads this). They are a fact of my personality and my role in our family. As an "adult" (I use that term loosely) I play so much more now. I don't get all wrung out over finishing things as finishing doesn't make me nearly as happy as discovering.

I think that is why I so loved the work that I do. I get to see so many people who are in all stages of creating. The fun is in the process. The product is usually an expression of the freeing process of creating. My favorite gifts are those quilts and garments and home decorating that brought me a good deal of joy to create. However, I often need a deadline to finish things...maybe it is the wedding coming up or the baby coming or the show coming up. I think I often don't finish things in a timely manner because I am the kid who just wants to keep playing outside while the sun is setting. I just don't want to come inside even to have supper!

So, while it sounds like I missed out on playing when I was a kid, I think I get to play every day. I love it. We say SEW INSPIRED at Pine Needles. My blog title Jill Inspired expresses what I hope for my life work. I want to inspire you. For the store, I want to be the place that inspires you to sew. We have done a good job if we inspire you! And what better happiness can one derive from from their playtime than to know that you inspire someone else to enjoy the child inside of them.

Enjoy the work of the thread artist, Cathy Franks . She is the great inspiration that came to Kaye England's College with us and taught us how to mess with thread. And...yes, they let us use a razor to shred the thread! It was fun. Will you see a coming class on it? Sure. Ashley and I have been brainstorming how we can make this work for you. But remember to put your play shoes on to come out and play with us. (Do you remember your play coat and your play shoes?) Perhaps you should have play clothes for when you go to sew. Perhaps you should adopt a play time when you go to your sewing room. If you can't do this for yourself, I will be the mom that authorizes you to go and play and not to have to finish. I also give you permission to not have to clean up your play area. While there is a time to clean up and sort out, some of you don't need to do it every day.

As the mom of five kids, I started off with putting their toys away every day. I also thought I would not raise responsible people unless I taught them to tidy up every day and to sort their things out. Funny thing is that having five kids, you learn that your sanity is at stake when you start thinking like this. One of my kids favorite winter past-times was making a tent that covered our whole family room and encompassed the dining room. While it was easy for me to remember when they did this, I now am reminded by them that I let them leave the tent up for many days at a time. We even juggled the dining room around so that we could still eat as a family and not disturb their tent. They also tell how we would set places at the table for their imaginary friends. This is the kind of playing we all deserve. We all deserve to play with total abandon and to have friends who encourage healthy play times. If we are happy and healthy in our play, our worlds are less stressed. We don't take things so seriously as to drain our creativity.

It is bitter winter in the midwest....time to play and set up your tent and burrow in!

All the BEST to you, jill

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My "Free" Time

What I sew in my "free" time (like I can gauge that anyway!) is usually a mystery even to me. Some days I like to sew like a robot...triangle to triangle, square to square, miles of machine quilting. Actually my favorite is machine quilting. I am not the greatest skier on my feet but in my mind I ski like I machine quilt, swooping and soaring across the canvas of my work. Of course, with my BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator), I just do my thing and it does its thing keeping my stitches in similar length.

While I was at Kaye England's event, Kaye's College in Indianapolis, we had a checkerboard challenge. That was a lot of fun. While I didn't "win" the top viewer's choice, my option was popular. More importantly it was a lot of fun. The circles in my challenge piece were designed for people who like to make yo-yos. I don't really like to make yo-yos so I re-designed mine into fun circles that I appliqued. So, what do you think?
At our next VIP at the store, we will be having a challenge you will want to participate in. Make sure you register to come to VIP. It is the most fun you can have for FREE just about anywhere. At this month's VIP, we are going to be announcing WHO our guest presenter is for Be There 2009. Plus, we will be offering up our Challenge for February. You can find out the details about VIP at our web site.

The other thing that we did this last week that amazed me was to DESTROY traditional threads and made them amazing. We worked with fiber capturing and slash and trash techniques. It was fun just trashing the thread and fabric but even more fun to use it for embellishing. Working with Cathy Franks, she taught us these fabulous thread techniques. Ashley will be working on a new event in February and March, and I have to show her how we did this! Cathy has fabulous work that goes beyond traditional thread painting. Yes, we did machine quilt over this stuff. We were working in a hotel banquet room. You should have seen the cleaning staff come in and study the carpet after we worked this technique. Mind you, they didn't vacuum up after us each night. However, after this particular day, I think they were concerned as to what their machinery was in for over the next few days. The room sparkled everywhere. If you were wearing black this day, you look embellished like a Christmas tree!

Now, I understand that lots of you are reading my blog but some of you don't know how to post a comment to the blog. I know it might feel like you are giving life blood to know how to post a comment. That said, please know and trust that you aren't too old or too computer-shy to post a comment. It may take you a few screen readings, but you CAN do it. Let me know you are listening in.

All the Best to You, jill