Blogging 101 – Day One

So… I guess I read the wrong prompt for today’s assignment.  The second-hand story was a daily writing prompt, not the blogging 101 assignment.

The assignment was actually “write and publish a “who I am and why I’m here” post.

Vacationing – yet sewing/quilting is on my mind.

First of all, I am a good student, so I’m going to correct my mistake.My name is Brian Clements from Wray, Colorado.  I am a quilt artist, who does some long-arm machine quilting for customers, as well as makes quilts for my own personal use.  I’ve been quilting since I happened to watch a show on PBS in 1989.

At the time, I lived in Lincoln, Nebraska.  I was always good at math and geometry in school.  I’m good at solving puzzles, and I’m a logical thinker.  The Double Irish Chain quilt being shown on Kaye Wood’s show, seemed like something I could figure out.  I hit the local big-box fabric store, and purchased black, grey and white fabrics.  Color wasn’t always my forte.  The black fabric I chose, was from the special occasions area.  A nice shiny moire taffeta.  Now, if you’ve sewed much… you already know that wasn’t the best choice for a beginning project.  The fabric had no give or stretch to the weave, and the fabric squares I cut, were quick to begin to ravel.

Well, I finished the quilt piecing, and I “tied” my quilt sandwich, by bar-tacking satin ribbon about every six inches.  I then tied the ribbons into nifty little bows.  This quilt was destined to be a wedding gift for my Brother and Sister-in-law’s upcoming wedding.  The quilt was finished on schedule, and gifted.  They used the quilt for a long time, and it has held up remarkably well.  The ribbons are pretty tattered now.  Their cat found them irresistible.

From that humble beginning was born a love of fabric and quilts.  I have progressed, and learned so many things about the craft.  I’ve also learned quite a bit about myself, too.  I have used my journey in quilting, to create beautiful art, using techniques that come from my logical ways.  It’s opened my eyes to beauty and design, that I did not notice in my early years.

I’ve made countless friendships through quilting.  Some are near, some very far.  I’ve become much more confident in my abilities, and I’ve enjoyed sharing my talents with others.

Since moving to Wray, Colorado 18 years ago, I’ve really honed my craft.  I have a wonderful husband who supports my creativity, nudging me into the sewing room on occasion.  We joke about this, but it’s true… when I’m down, sewing is a reliable way to bring things up.

I started my blog a few years ago, as a means to share my ideas and inspiration with a new community of online artists,  Also, current and future customers can find my information here.  In reality, it’s pretty simple to blog, yet I seem to go in spurts.  My good intentions get caught up in thoughts of “what should I write” or “how do I keep it fun”, so I’m here in Blogging 101 with hopes of finding ideas to keep the blog flowing.

Thanks for reading my intro, and I hope you find something enjoyable on my pages.  I always love when people follow the blog, and or leave me comments.  Thanks for reading all of this.  Have a great day!

Fellow Quilter,

Brian

Second-hand Stories

Hello Everyone.

To coincide with my Photo blogging project, I have also signed up for a daily blogging project.  Today’s prompt was to tell a second-hand story.

As a professional long-arm quilter, I hear stories all the time.  I hear about the journey that the quilt-maker has undertaken to produce the quilt top in front of me.  I hear about quilt classes and retreats.  I hear about wonderful shopping trips to quilt stores, large and small.  I am told about family and friends, celebrations and trials.

One of my clients, named Karen tells some great stories with her quilts.  She has made four of these quilts so far.  The story goes as such.

She inherited her mother’s fabric stash, and as a sewer herself, Karen had accumulated quite a collection of scraps herself.  These scraps are dated from the 1930’s to today, and are everything from scraps from clothing projects, quilt fabrics, recycled clothing and draperies, and t-shirt logos.

The process is pretty straight forward.  Karen cuts the fabrics into equal sized squares.  I believe hers were about 4 inches square.  Mind you… you fit a lot of various fabrics that size into a king-size quilt.  These fabrics all have meaning to Karen and her three sons, who each now have a quilt of memories.

I only got a brief story about the fabrics in general, but as I quilted each quilt, I could imagine a few generations of life through their energy.  I could tell that this square was likely a curtain at one time.  Oh, this was surely a kids shirt in the 1980’s.  I love the pattern on that… it must have been popular in the 1950’s.  Some squares were more obvious.  There were patches cut from old family reunion t-shirts.  There were sports team logos, and cartoon characters.

It was so much fun to “read” the stories presented in these quilt tops.  I am a lucky artist indeed.

Have a great day!

Fellow Quilter,

Brian

Home

Hello everyone.  Today I thought I would post a photo of my sewing studio.  When I am in this room, I definitely am at home.  Amidst the chaos and clutter, things are fairly organized for me.  I can spend hours and hours here.

Sewing Studio

In the many drawers are supplies and projects for my creativity.  There are threads, fabric, and cutting and marking tools.  The bookshelves organize a variety of books, and are sorted by topic.  There are books on piecing, applique, color theory, and quilt history.

My sewing machine sits at the base of the three windows, where I can watch the birds, and the cars driving by.  It’s a wonderful spot.

Today is the first day of a month-long photo-blogging project that I’ve joined, and todays photo inspiration was to be “Home”.  I thought about this, and many things came to my mind.  My husband Joe, and obviously our historic, nearly century-old home.  Our two cats, Lucky and Dudley also remind me of home.  But I took the challenge a bit further, and for me, this is my creative home.  My mind just changes when I am in this space, and I am free to just be.

I don’t always spend time in here every day.  But if I stay absent very long, my core being gets out of whack.  It’s so obvious, that in our household, when I’m feeling blue, you’ll hear Joe say “you should go sew something”.  And I know he is right!

I hope you enjoy peeking into my world.

Have a great day, and happy quilting!

Fellow Quilter,

Brian

Quilts of the Plains 2014 – Another Year of BEAUTIFUL Quilts!

QOTP_2014_Image_001Hello everyone.  It’s been a busy summer here in Wray, Colorado.  We did host the annual Quilts of the Plains show on Main Street on June 21, 2014.  Once again, the antique quilts and the smaller items were showcased at our gorgeous Wray Museum.

Thanks to all the sponsors, volunteers, and especially the quilters!  The winning quilt was by Hazel Chapman and her Grand-daughter.  It was a beautiful appliqued quilt.

I won’t say a lot, but just invite you to peruse the show, by way of the photos I captured that day.  I really appreciate if you could leave a comment about the show – perhaps your favorite quilt, or something relevant to the show.

The photos can be viewed at my Quilts of the Plains 2014 Photo Album

I hope you are enjoying this blog.

Road Trip Finale

Hello everyone. Well, the Nebraska road trip is over. We had a great time visiting some of our favorite quilt shops again. We enjoyed Cottage Inspirations in Cambridge. Then we were off to Arapahoe, which was the topic of my blog post on Wednesday. After a long lunch break, we headed to Grand Island where two quilt shops were in our sights. An explosion of color, pattern and design are always how I perceive the Material Girl quilt shop. 20120817-125717.jpgOwner, Debbie, was not there on this day… Her hubby said she was already on the way to Colorado for the big quilt event in Loveland… I guess I’ll see her there, because I plan to go on Saturday with friends, Mark, Benita and Renata.
After spending quite some time choosing at Material Girl… We had just a few minutes to hit Nana’s Quilt Shop in downtown Grand Island. 20120817-125920.jpgThis shop specializes in the more primitive, and country style. Annie B was in heaven, for sure. After our quick tour of Nana’s… We discovered an awesome quilt shop, Heartland Antique Mall was just down the street. Fun, fun, fun!
Sadly, after the overnight stay, we headed west.
We only had time for one stop, so we made it count… The Quilt Rack in North Platte! 20120817-125939.jpgLisa DeBord is a good friend of ours, and her shop sells just about anything quilting related. She has lots of panels, in case you need a jumping off point. Also ther are batiks, novelty prints, all the latest from top designers, etc. We stayed until the very last minute we could, because I had to be home by 3pm to leave for a convention in Denver. We sure made every second count!
Hopefully, you and some good friends will plan a similar trip, and tell us about it!

 

 

Happy Quilting,
Fellow Quilter,
Brian Clements

 

 

 

Sisters at Heart Miles Apart

Hey everyone!  I just heard about a cool blog entry about the Quilts of the Plains Show.  It is posted by one of the vendors, Becky Leis of Sisters at Heart Miles Apart.  Becky had a most wonderful booth, and I hope you stopped by to see her designs.  I saw quite a few quilters grabbing up her patterns.  I was really intrigued by the postcard patterns that she markets.  Anyway, I thought you’d like to read her blog about the show, and maybe start following her posts too!  Her blog about QOTP is at http://sistersatheartmilesapart.com/sisters-brag-book-2/1383-2/ and I hope you enjoy reading it.  I sure did!