rayna gillman's blog         improv quilts & an improv life

If there is such a thing as working feverishly off-and-on, I've been doing that for the past few days. I'm making a quilt for Usha (with her fabrics, of course) because she is my good friend and is too busy to make one for her booth.

Si on peut imaginer -- je suis en train de faire un website et un blog et en plus, je fais un quilt pour le kiosk de mon amie Usha (avec ses tissus, bien sûr). Je le fais parce qu'elle est trop occupée avec autre choses et parce que je lui ai promis de le faire.

These fabrics are so squished that it's hard to see the variety -- but I have been addicted to these beautiful Indian cottons from Handloom Batik for the last twenty years.

Dans cette photo il est difficile de voir la variété d'étoffes- mais j'ai été accro à ces jolis cotons indiens de Handloom Batik depuis vingt ans.

I can't show you what I'm making because it would spoil the surprise. I've sewn the top together and have been so busy with this blog that I haven't sandwiched or stitched it. Ugh- the quiltig is/has always been my least favorite part of the whole process, but don't tell me to give it out to someone else to quilt. I'm a glutton for punishment, I suppose -- but my random stitching is consistent with my random cutting and my random life.

Je ne peux pas vous montrer ce que je fais parce que cela gâterait la surprise pour elle.. J'ai cousu ensemble les blocs mais j'ai été tellement occupée avec ce blog que je ne l'ai ni coincé ni quilted. Ugh- le quilting a toujours été ma partie la moins préférée de l'ensemble du processus, mais ne me dites pas de l'abandonner à quelqu'un d'autre pour le quilting! Je suis un glouton pour la punition, je suppose - mais mes coutures aléatoires sont compatibles avec ma vie et mon style de couper aléatoire!

Now I have another idea for using these fabrics that I need to experiment with. Once I figure out how to do what I want to do, I'll show you what I am doing.

Maintenant, j'ai une autre idée pour utiliser ces tissus dont je dois expérimenter. Au moment que je comprends comment faire ce que je veux faire, je vais vous montrer ce que je fais.

I have pretty much attempted to organize my fabrics into bins and I was amused to notice today that I had put a label on a box that said IMPROV UFOs. Really? Do I have any other kind? I guess there are a bunch of blocks or units that I experimented with that may not have worked at the time, but I will eventually get back to them. Or not.

J'ai plutôt tenté d'organiser mes tissus dans des bacs et j'ai été amusé de constater aujourd'hui que j'avais mis une étiquette sur une boîte qui a déclaré IMPROV UFOs. Vraiment? Est-ce que j'ai un autre type? Je suppose qu'il y a un tas de blocs ou d'unités avec lesquels j'ai expérimenté, peut-être que cela ne fonctionnait pas à l'époque, mais je reviendrai sur eux. Ou pas.


Last weekend we went to the farmer's market. I stocked up on the last of the NJ strawberries (which, I admit, looked better than they tasted).

Vegetables, too, from the abundance there. Here they are, destined to become soup: combined with past their eat-by scraps from the fridge and the pantry;leftover steak from a restaurant dinner, dried beans, herbs, tomato paste and a hunk of romano cheese. No recipe. Stone Soup. Remember that story? Something out of nothing.

My mother always said I could make something out of nothing. She was talking about meals, but she might just as well have been talking about quilts. We all work miracles with nothing.

We're experts at taking bits, pieces, scraps, and leftovers to make something visually delicious (well, at least most of the time). All it takes is the ability to be creative, combine things we may not have combined before, substitute one fabric or color for another, take a chance with the untried, and do it all with love!

For me, cooking is as creative as making something with fabric -- and I find both things calming, exhilirating, and sometimes frustrating. To me they are the same, and they both make me happy. Funny, when I cook or bake I clean up as I go along. Can't say the same for my studio, but that's another story, which you have seen before.

As usual, it's late. I've been drinking coffee at night and staying up till all hours working on a quilt, but I'm too tired to deal with it tonight.

And I've been experimenting with some random ideas. To tell you the truth, I can't remember how I did this, but these were off-cuts from something else. Couldn't bear to throw them away.

Late. Tired. Not staying up all night. More tomorrow (or whenever I get to it).

I love you all. Thanks for being there -- and I hope you'll leave me a comment or two.

I was an early adopter of blogging; been writing since January 2005. I used to blog pretty much every day -- last thing before I went to bed. It started as a "thinking out loud" thing but in no time, took on a life of its own.

Lately, I've blogged less often: partly because I've been super-busy and partly because I have had no time to do my own work - and nothing to share. Now I'm back to playing in the studio a bit - hooray!

I've also decided it's time for a change. My website was getting tired and needed a facelift and my blog was looking as cluttered as my sewing room.

The website is ready but I'm still working on my blog. Will let you know when they are both ready to go!

On the content of blogs: I attended a panel discussion recently where quilters talked about blogging. One makes her living from her blog, another designs fabric, and there were a few who teach and sell what they make.

Some write their posts months ahead of time and auto-schedule them to appear daily or several times a week. Others (like me) are in the moment and sit down, write, and post right then - whenever they can.

Most of them said they had made the decision to keep it strictly a quilt blog -- not mentioning a word about their lives or families because they thought it was not professional. OTOH - they all talked about engaging with their readers.

Frankly, I think that life, creativity, and the work we all do are intertwined. I'm interested in how you view blogs. What do you think? Should I keep on blogging about whatever strikes me at the moment? Or should I be serious and professional and just stick to quilts and making quilts?

I really want to know - so leave me a comment. I'm still working out the kinks on this blog, so I'll be glad to know somebody is reading it.