Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.(Philippians 4:8)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Grow Your Blog Hop Party

Hello! and welcome to Why-Knot-Kwilt?

For those of you visiting for the first time through 2 Bags Full's
 Grow Your Blog hop party ... I welcome you with a warm heart!  
For those of you returning ... I give you my sincerest thanks!
And most of all ... Vicki of 2 Bags Full ... what an undertaking!
I thank you sincerely!!

Introductions are in order ...

I am Wendy, single mom of two girls under ten years of age, living in Western Montana, USofA.  I have been quilting for just under ten years now ... most projects as gifts for friends, family, and well, give-aways on my blog ....

I was first introduced to quilting by my friend Vicki.  Now, I've been sewing since my very first Holly Hobby sewing machine was given to me when I was 5 or 6 years of age.  My grandmother used to give me fabric for presents and then I inherited her used Singer.  You know, one of those heavy-duty, nothing ever broke models?? Loved it until the day I could no longer replace parts on it.  Loved my grandmother more, of course.  Back on course ... I always said "I'll quilt someday."  Well, someday came when I became pregnant at 36 yrs old and I was sent home on bed rest.  After twenty-some years in the corporate world, what the heck was I gonna do sitting at home all day on bed rest. (Type-A personality here ?!!?!?! :) )  Along comes my friend Vicki.  She quilted for years back east (anything east of the Rockies seems to be 'back east' to my Montana-bearings but Vicki was a legitimate North-Virginian) and Vicki decided she might take on teaching me to quilt.  Upon the death of my dependable, loyal Singer, I got a steal of a deal on a new Bernina Virtuosa on eBay ... heavy duty with lots of stitches I just had to learn how to use (still haven't mastered many of them).  My first quilty-thing was a wall hanging with my first born daughter's name on it pictured below:

Of course, two years later, I made this one when my second daughter was born:

What I find ironic looking back now is that the cool pastels and the vibrant brights of the fabrics so parallel my girls' personalities ... who knew? {grin}  

About the time I was making my youngest daughter's quilt for her first birthday, Fons & Porter had been running a baby quilt contest.  A friend suggested I enter my quilt into this contest.  Newbie to the quilting world that I was, I didn't know any better, so I entered. ... Needless to say, I didn't win the baby quilt contest, but I found out F&P deemed my humble quilt worthy of entry into their Easy Quilts baby quilts magazine issue!
  Holy Cow!!  How cool is that!!  
How could a person not feel they didn't win when this is the result of losing?

Happy Flowers quilt designed by me!

Can you say ..... Holy Cow Poop!  
After a quilting start like this, how could a girl not get hooked??? 

Oh My Goodness?  How do I possibly follow this up?  ...  Well, through the magic of internet broadcasts, youtube videos, blogging tutorials, and many other online sources, I've learned about quilting "rules," quality fabrics, proper tools, and most importantly what it means to follow my instincts no matter what or how much advice others offer.  I love the process of piecing a quilt as much as I now enjoy quilting and completing a quilt.   I like to encourage the same in others ... no matter what, follow your creative instincts, do what feels good to you when you create!

Why I blog ...

When I began my blog in May of 2010, it was at the encouragement of a friend and I have to say she really had to talk me into it.  I knew nothing of blogging nor of the blogging world.  I had heard the word bandied about, but never really investigated what a "blog" was.  Well low and behold, I was introduced to Amy's Creative Side and her marvelous Blogger's Quilt Festival, but, you needed a blog in order to participate. So ... I thought "why not do it?"  Naming the blog took me several more days to ponder.  I'm not clever.  When I try to be funny, I fall flat.  So, then I thought, "Why Knot"?  Hey that works.  Now, look what I've become!!!

Then something happened ... and for me it was magic!  In June of 2011, Madame Samm of Sew We Quilt blessed me with a blog makeover.  I was OVER THE MOON excited!!  Not only about the blog makeover, and don't get me wrong, it was amazing!, but the fact that she picked my humble blog to fancy-up.  Way Cool!

Over that next year and into 2012, my blog friends became my lifeline... life changes happened, and still, this blog of mine kept me grounded in reality, this blog and my blog friends kept me involved, kept me crafting, kept me inspired, and kept me connected. My blog friends are my online quilting circle since I have not been able to participate in one locally over the last few years.  Here I am, in 2014, finally able to start seeing the possibilities of a good life again, and still, my blogging friends are there for me.  Thank you dear friends!

What my blog is about ...

Since my family and most of my friends do not live anywhere near me, I sometimes share tidbits about what is happening with me and my daughters on a small scale, just to let them know we're doing okay.  Mostly, however, my blog is about my creative endeavors and the quilting projects I am currently working on.  Madame Samm of Sew We Quilt ... which again, is my online quilting group ... leads inspired and challenging hops, many of which I join to stay creative and active in my group and blog.  As many of you moms know, you don't get very many opportunities to be told you are doing good, much less encouragement to stay involved and creative in something that makes you happy ... well, this blog and my commitment to it does just that ... it keeps me creating, it keeps me encouraged, and most of all, the comments left by visitors, truly inspires me and they are so very appreciated!!  While I may often extol the need to be kind, I will be the first to laugh at my own mistakes and find that perhaps by sharing my mistakes, you too will laugh with me and feel better about little mistakes you might make.  There are no quilt police on this blog ... if there ever were, well they found reason to run away real fast long ago! I have a seam ripper and I'm not afraid to use it!!! {ha!}  If we can't laugh at being human, well ... what's the point? {grin}

My goals through blogging ....

I have cut back my corporate world schedule to 20-hrs a week so I am more available to meet the needs of my daughters and their school schedules.  This is hard to do, as I am sure many of you totally understand, but it was a choice I had to make and so far do not regret.  I hope to continue to grow my quilting work for others and perhaps one day expand my creativity into more full time than not, but until then, the steady paycheck is a must!  As I wrote earlier, this blog helps keep me connected and inspired.  A few years back I had a long arm Gammill, but events led to me selling it.  I hope to one day soon own another so I may get back to the wonderful art that is long arm quilting.  I currently piece and quilt for customers using my domestic machine, and while that is of course a challenge, every customer is so very appreciated and the payments help keep my household running.  I've developed two patterns for Craftsy and am currently working on a third ... in fact, for one of my upcoming hops, so I hope you come back for another visit ... here's a hint:

If that isn't a teaser, well then, I don't know what to tell you!  I was never really interested in high-heels ... until just recently ... now, well I've become enamored with them and I created this small collage for inspiration.  While I don't yet own a pair like these ... I one day soon hope to treat myself to a pair (though will need a reason and a place to wear them)!! That's all you get .... 

Intrigued?  I hope so as that means you will come back for another visit!
Please do ... I enjoy meeting new people and learning about new places ... which means if you don't get a response to your comment immediately, know that I am off visiting the other 585 participants of the Grow Your Blog hop party !!!

Thank you so much for stopping in and I hope to see you again soon,

Until then, warm hearted wishes,

Wendy of Why-Knot?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Waking Up With Kona!

Welcome to Why Knot Kwilt!  Thank you so much for stopping by on your way through the "Wake Up to Kona" blog hop!!  

You may note that my stop may run more along the "good night, Kona" theme as I used the gorgeous Sunset line of  Robert Kauffman's Kona Solids along with Kona white solid for the background.

I also thought it most fitting to take photos of my quilt ... 
well, at sunset ... 


I was able to assemble this quilt in one weekend ...
seriously! It probably took me longer to figure out which pattern to use than it did for me to actually make this sweet piece ...
that includes being plagued with a bugger of a cold and having my daughters and their sleep-over friends with me during the weekend!  

If that isn't endorsement enough on the ease of Amanda's patterns ... well ... {wink}

The quilt is backed with minkee fabric, so in an attempt to alleviate the difficulty of quilting, I did basic straight-line quilting and I chose to enhance the colors and white background by making a a scrappy binding from the remains of the fat quarters used for the quilt top.

Since those photos did not best show the full beauty of Amanda Murphy's Circus pattern found in her most recent book ... Color Essentials:

I did take a quick snapshot of the quilt top, pre-quilting, just to show the completed top.
Please forgive the quality of the photo, I really did mean to get another but this is the only one I was able to use for the blog today ... lighting and weather are tricky in our northern states at this time of year ...

Those of you making comparisons to Amanda's original pattern will note that I did not add the yo-yos and since I didn't add those, I turned the pointed triangles on the ends "into" the flying geese to better point attention to the center of the quilt and, since the receiver of this quilt was so very eager to start using it, skipping the yo-yos meant I could quilt and bind it quicker so she could take possession: 

And at the end of the day ... being wrapped in love is truly more important than getting every piece exactly right ... wouldn't you agree?

Again, I thank you for visiting.  My thanks to Carol of Just Let Me Quilt for hosting this hop, Madame Samm for all your creativity, and to all my fellow Blog Hop participants so posting so very much inspiration!

Please be sure to visit our other hop stops for this day as I am sure they will have fun and creative works of art to share too!!

January 17
Why-Knot-Kwilt ~ you are here

Until next we get a chance to visit, 
I wish you all happy hearts!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Journey ... A Long Read ...

First things first ...  Happy New Year!!

I wish each and every one of you more joys in this new year than you can possibly imagine!

Secondly, I write this post at the suggestion of a friend, though probably not as knowingly suggested, but more of a continuation of a journey I began a couple of years ago ...and want/need to share in words.  Of the need to share is for me to sort thoughts, some of the want is for understanding and possibly insight as I've learned so many of you have journeyed before me and have walked some of the same paths I've come upon. But mostly, there are certainly laughs to be had along this journey, so please share with me!!

To start this segment of my journey, I shall start about six months ago when I became unemployed... yes, "became."`  It was a choice I made of sound mind though I wish I never had to make the choice ... one between mothering my precious daughters or fulfilling an unsatisfactory position that required me to be unavailable to my daughters when they needed.  To me the choice was simple, but scary.  A single mother, no savings, no back up plan, no guaranteed income of support ... just blind faith that things would work as they should.  I therefore made my choice and "became" unemployed.

That is not sad in itself, I've recently found a very nice part time position at which I am fully confident in by ability to fulfill ... and have faith in the company that hired me that they understand the meaning of family first.  I will continue to search for other work that can fill in both the hours and financial needs to support my family, however, I will stick to my choice of family first ... family grows so quickly ... time moves faster and is irreplaceable ... I choose not to miss it ... everything else will work as it should ...
Time will tell ... but I have faith. 

I made it through the holiday season with personal struggles but here I am on the other side of the holidays and my daughters are still healthy and happy and in the end, that is what matters.  I was also able to complete several sewing projects during these past few months that aided in making ends come closer to meeting, and I do believe that work make many of my customers happy... score for me again!

This "other side of the holidays" brings me to the purpose of this post ... I had an opportunity and I took it.  I kept it close to my chest for fear of other's judgment in my time of troubles and stress on the home front, but knowing in my heart that I have been pulling every angle possible, and again having faith that I was doing the right thing ... I took this leap into the unknown and took an adventure into the unknown.... and holy cow! what unknown it was .... phew!  Yet, I lived to tell about it and hopefully share some laughs now that the adventure is over.

You see, my daughters were gone this past week with their dad and, I being unemployed, found myself with an opportunity so very rare to many of us ... oh the wonder!  Do you take it, the opportunity? or do you sit and worry and wonder and regret in days gone by that you didn't take a chance?  I didn't want to find myself regretting.

A person dear to me, known to me as a friend from high school, lives very far away from my secluded, insular hometown ... my fishbowl.  I was invited on an open ended invite to come and visit ... and me being me, didn't believe the opportunity would ever present itself.  Well, it did, as I've explained, and I took it.

Imagine if you will, a very small town girl from the Northwest US venturing into a big city roughly 2,000 miles away and that city is nearly TWENTY times larger than the fish bowl in which she lives.  Indeed, I did it! I did ... all by myself ... even rented a car and maneuvered the highways, freeways, interstates, and dreaded side roads and lived to tell about it!  Goodness knows how many u-turns were made, how many poor native town drivers were cut off in traffic by some fool driver who didn't have a clue where she was going ... best thing is ... I was driving a rental with an even more unrecognizable license plate ... they'll never track me down!!! hahahahaha

Yet, I lived and as far as I know, I did not inflict bodily harm to anyone else on the roads ... note I said "bodily" harm ... I know the mental toll lost, crazy, drivers can take and I apologize should any reader have been thus inflicted {wink}

I learned several things in this brief visit ... concrete jungle are two words that have absolutely no business being put together ... jungle to me means green ... concrete is not green!  Interstates, freeways, highways are all gray, or black, or mixes of in between colors ... Montana and my small fishbowl are mostly green ... unless, of course, you live here during the winter time and the whole world is grey ... Score One for the Big City of concrete jungles .... see, I'm fair even when I don't want to be.  I also was gifted with seeing some sights of historical value which had I not taken this opportunity, I would never have dreamed of seeing... what a joy! and Big Town had the attractions {wink}  Score another ...

I learned that having lived in Montana for over 30 years, I've become very insulated in the population that surrounds me.  Yes, we have diverse personalities, especially in this university town ... but in a Big City nearly TWENTY times larger than my fish bowl ... you have diverse populations of people, not just personalities.  Can you say eye opener????  I cannot believe the life to be missed should a person chose to never venture outside their ever decreasing fish bowls.... in this internet world in which we now live, there are such avenues of learning and exploring, however, sometimes it takes actually leaving the comfort of our own homes to really experience life and learn ... I'm so very glad I got the opportunity and chose to take it!

I do wish to make this journey again to see another side of this wondrous area, one that contains greenery and mud and fun ... perhaps there are areas more like my current fishbowl that only the longevity of time and familiarity can show ... I know there are so many other sights to see and I now yearn to see them.

I also discovered that while I crave to have adventures and explore parts of my world other than my fishbowl, doing so alone is not a feeling I enjoy.  I had so many moments that I felt would be so much better had I someone to share the small joys with... that is not to say that I didn't relish the time I had exploring and being able to do so on my own schedule and not have to cater to my children's needs when they needed it, but the fact that I was experiencing new things and having these new adventures and doing it by  myself, it brought home my feeling of being alone in a giant world of so many.... is that understandable?   Am I the only one that craves someone to share experiences of wonder and joy, and even share the burden of sadness and sorrows with?  I hope not, because this adventure proved this feeling is a true, gut feeling to me.

Obviously I need to venture out of my fish bowl town and mentality more often ... in fact, I plan to make it an achievable goal of mine.

I visited my dear friend and family during this time of convenience to me but not at quiet a convenient time for them. As explained, I had to take advantage of my opportunities.  I am grateful to absolutely everyone who made that possible for me to do so ... everyone!  Most especially my friend for the invitation and sharing of family!!

Not having seen this friend in so very many years, and wanting so very dearly to keep and develop this friendship ... I tried not infringe on their family time ... however ... I do need to say my friend was so very gracious and very generous with the time shared, in fact I wish I had a million more hours to visit, as I do not recall enjoying myself so very much with my friend and the family in every so long! I met three of the neatest young men it has been my pleasure to meet and I have to say my friend is doing an absolutely marvelous job of raising gentlemen ... color me impressed ... especially in today's world.

My one regret is that my fear of imposition on my friend's schedule... and fear of unknown travel implications ... meant my friend and I did not get to say a proper goodbye before I headed back to the airport ... I would have loved a cherished hug from not only my friend, but from the whole family!! ... however I hope to one day meet up with my friend again.  Enter Blubbering Idiot ... Scene One ... (trust me, blubbering idiot has several appearances!)

You see, I was scheduled to travel back to my fishbowl of a town on the day that the majority of the Eastern part of the United States was hit with a wicked storm ... therein throwing every single airport across the nation into total disarray ... and I mean every single one!  I therefore headed back to the car rental return several hours earlier than needed in hopes of perhaps changing my flight home to an earlier time so I would miss all of the weather caused chaos.  Well ... At 10 a.m. on Friday, I checked out of my hotel, returned my rental car, and entered the airport terminal and did not return to my comfortable home and bed until 12:00 a.m. on Sunday morning.  (Blubbering Idiot appears again at the realization of time lost with friend .... )

Of course, because the airport I was at was not "affected" by the weather, they obviously did not think I needed to change my ticket.  Okay ... two hours later ... again, I request a change ... well, the airport I'm flying to has some effects of the travelers now having their flights cancelled, but my flights show no problem ... another hour ... I've now missed my earlier opportunity to catch an early flight ... four hours later ... (enter blubbering idiot ... scene three)

... My flight is now two hours late and I miss my flight at the connecting airport by a mere THREE MINUTES ... oh the ache in my feet and chest as I desperately run from one end of the airport across three concourses to the other side of the airport just in time to see my airplane back away from the terminal .... WHAAAAA! (Blubbering Idiot's scene is pretty much perpetual at this stage)

Okay ... so flight has been missed ... airline is sorry for this inconvenience and offers a reduced-rate hotel voucher ... UHHHH ... excuse me, I was supposed to be on my way home to my bed, therein I did not plan to have ANY money for a hotel, whether a reduced rate or not. ... airport terminal benches for me at 10:00 p.m. at night.   Get in line for the over-worked and very unhappy customer service section ... don't get me wrong, I understand they had a lot of issues to deal with ... but when you are told by a customer service person that they are just too tired from having to deal with all of the unusually circumstances during the day to hear you correctly, some sympathy is lost along the way on my part ... Blubbering Idiot has issues too you know!

Luckily I was not alone, one other young lady was traveling the same direction as I so I did have company.  During hour one, Blubbering Idiot was able to exit scene for a bit as Exhausted Idiot made her appearance.  11:00 p.m. finds Exhausted Idiot curled up on the terminal benches as best she can until the fire alarms go off in our section of the airport concourse ... yes, I said fire alarms ... ugh!  Okay, so Exhausted Idiot decides to get up and find another location to rest because by midnight, the flashing lights and overhead announcements of the fire alarms is just no fun...seriously {laughing}

Exhausted Idiot discovers that her stand-by flight the next morning has been changed to another terminal, so off she goes to trek across three other concourses to park her butt at the right gate.... again to discover an hour later that the gate has been moved again, so the trek is again made.  I was determined to be in line to get out at the earliest opportunity.

Well, after a night of on again/off again napping at the airport, I dutifully stood in line at the gate in hopes of getting on the early flight out this morning ... only to discover the flight was over booked and there are ten hopefuls on stand by.... none of the stand by passengers get on the flight.  ... Heaven help the world, but Blubbering Idiot entered at this stage, was assisted by a beleaguered customer service rep who probably just wanted to get me out of her window and some kindly person even handed over a pile of kleenix ...and I had a boarding pass for NINE HOURS later ... yes, at this stage I have been in the airport system for over 36 hours ... duhduhduhduhhhhh .... can you say a whole box of kleenix was needed???

Yes, several bottles of water were consumed as the loss of so much fluid and need for hydration was paid attention to {wink}

Well, I arrived back home to my comfortable fishbowl at midnight tonight to the tunes of the numerous babies crying aboard the flight ... who do you feel more sorry for at times such as that ... the baby that is so miserable and needs to vent, the parents of the miserable baby who are unable to help the unhappy baby and therein quiet the noise, or the passengers that sit next to and around the unhappy passenger?  I was gratefully several rows, two earphones and one iPod full of tunes away ... it was just a random question I threw out there.

Okay, so it wasn't that bad, it just felt like it, but add in no sleep, missed flights, the insane desire to get home as I was supposed to be with my daughters who I hadn't seen in a week, and the fact that I was alone ... well ... you get the picture.

I owe sincere thanks to my friends that kept me company via texting on my phone that needed repeated recharging ... I could not have made it through this journey without you!!

I thank you also for reading through my journey ... I can only hope I am brave enough and lucky enough to journey again.  It is back to work for me ... adventure time must be put on hold ... we have several blog hops alone to prep for, besides the reality of real world work ... so until next we visit ...

Best wishes to each of you, and again, Happiest New Year wishes!!