FriYAY Friends

FriYAY Friends: An Interview with Kim Niedzwiecki aka "Go Go Kim"

Good morning, my wonderful friends!

I think you should know that as I'm writing this, I'm eating tomatoes that Hubster grew on oatmeal bread that Hubster made. He also made pretzels rolls and guac this week. Serious yum. So, now that all of y'all are sufficiently jealous... haha!

I'm cutting straight to the chase today because Kim-- squee! As you know, there are many quilters and creatives that I deeply admire, but I think I have a bit of a creative girl crush on Kim. I adore her quilting, her pizazz, and her amazing energy and joy in everything she does. I hope all of you enjoy this chance to get to know her a little better!

1) Tell us a little about yourself, your family, your hobbies, your creative background, etc.  Coffee, popcorn and blueberries are my everything!  Life without any of these is unthinkable! 

I am a problem solver even when there are no problems.  I drive my family crazy going through everything that CAN go wrong FIRST and then working my way back from that point. This is not a choice, it is just the way I am wired. They tolerate me ( thank goodness)!  

I have four kids spanning three decades!  By having done it that way, I am guaranteed to keep current in technology. The 10 year old knows more about my cell phone than I do and I will be DOOMED when he grows up and goes off to college.  The teen and the 26 year old keep me current on all things hip and cool and are the first to tell me when I am acting "old." I look to them to find out what is up and coming for trends.  They are always spot on!  The almost 30 year old ( I cannot believe I have a CHILD that age) keeps me grounded in philosophy and life.  He is my sage.  He lives in OK with his beautiful wife and their 3 kids.  We talk a lot about life, struggles, the meaning of creativity and its impact on humanity.  All very light stuff.  He is my balance.  

Forever my family and friends thought that my job was my hobby!  Society places a great burden on creatives by tagging them with the hobbyist label.  By not valuing their time as pay worthy, it creates the idea that what they do is not WORK.  Some days the comments have been made by people if I say I am frustrated ( it happens) that I can just stop, it is only sewing.  Everyone has off days at their places of employment. My being a creative does not mean that I do everything for fun. Some things are stressful but that is not a reason to stop. For me, it is a reason to push through and make it HAPPEN.  This drive is what creatives must have to be successful! Drive is my hobby being a creative is my profession! 

The creative life happened by accident for me by way of my youngest when he was a baby.  Sewing was a task to learn.  I was soon sucked into the vortex of fun fabrics and sewing machines!  My adoration of sewing machines, especially vintage models, and variety of fabrics is the reason I kept sewing.  I could not justify having all of accumulation of these things filling every nook and cranny of the house without producing something! 

There is not a beautiful tale of decades of history in the sewing world.  I have family members that did sew before I was born or while I was growing up but I did not learn how to from them. Everything I know I have taught myself or have looked to friends in the industry to learn. My children have been in my sewing studio, they do know basics, the younger ones are growing up with this being a part of their family history. 

2) You do a good bit of design work as part of your quilting. What does your design process look like? Chaos is my process!  Most of my projects have been long term not quick turnarounds.  I tend to overthink each part of the process.  Perfection is not my goal but my personal happiness is what I try to achieve. This holds true for everything I do.  I may take more time to complete tasks than most but then at the end of my day, I look back and know that I have put my best into each thing that I have done.

3) What do you think are the most important things to keep in mind when writing quilt patterns or tutorials for others to follow? I am a visual learner.  I NEED to see every step!  When I am writing or designing, I will add photos for every step.  One tutorial I had included 59 photos!  It was for Liberty of London  and they ended up cutting so many of the photos! I never could have recreated the project without each of those images.  Making patterns that everyone can use no matter how they learn is important. It is not that people cannot make certain things, it is that they may process the information differently than the pattern writer. 

My being a visual learner  also makes me an excellent pattern tester.  I HAVE to make a tester block before I cut into precious fabric. I follow each step as it is written.  I do not try to make it work if there is an issue, I will correct it or ask what was meant as I go.  In this way, I am learning something new and am also able to let pattern writers know what they need to fix.  Understanding  that we are all fallible is key to the process. No one wants to make a mistake.  It is up to all of us to realize that it can occur and to be compassionate when it does happen. 

4) How is creative community important to your work? My work as a Creative Social Media Manager for a variety of different companies in the quilting and sewing industry means the creative community is everything to me!  I am on every social media outlet seven days a week looking for engaging content to learn from and share.  I listen to TED talks and devour books in my spare time.  There are so many exciting ways to add value to the creative community that is not limited to sewing and quilting.  It can be mind boggling at times!  In fact, I will never be bored or lack inspiration thanks to everything from the internet to my kids! 

5) What advice do you have for other makers on their creative journeys? No matter what your end goal, LOVE the process!  If you love piecing...piece your brains out!  If making bags is your thang...make 1000! Find people that share similar interests and be there for each other!  Communities are what makes all of this worthwhile.  It is great to grow, it is even better if you have those around you growing too!  Do not compete...complete!  Be the reason that someone wants to start or the reason that someone decides not to give up!

Kim, thank you so much for hanging out with us today on FriYAY Friends! Your energy is infectious! 

Y'all be sure to follow Kim on Instagram @gogokim (where I found all these gorgeous images), and check out her fun blog and Facebook page, too! 

You can also find me on Instagram @stringandstory where my feed is full of quilts and my stories are full of my goofy little boys and cats. I'd also love to see you each Saturday morning for a nice first cup of coffee Newsletter read. If you haven't already, you can sign up here. 

That's all for now, dears! I'll see you tomorrow in the newsletter, and then here on Monday for the #MachineQuiltingBlogHop (fingers crossed that Modern Birds in the Air will be done).

XO,

HollyAnne

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WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday :: Piecing Palooza

The pieces for the rest of the complete blocks for my Perfect Fit sample all kitted up and ready to go

The pieces for the rest of the complete blocks for my Perfect Fit sample all kitted up and ready to go

Happy Hump Day!

Rain. I want my sweltering summer sun back so the boys and I can get back to splashing at the pool and fountains! In the meanwhile, my piecing party has graduated to a piecing palooza. 

The super cool baby quilt blocks have been shipped off for the baby shower, and another tshirt quilt went out Monday morning. This week, my primary piecing focus is on the rest of my official test of my Perfect Fit Pattern. I hope to have a completed top by the end of the week! Meanwhile, I'm trying out a quilting plan on the mini test. Word to the wise: don't quilt black on black without natural lighting. Not so easy! 

In addition, I'm taking a little time to get a bit of my En Provence together. I've hung several quilts on our walls here at home, but I'm getting a bit antsy to get some quilts made for cuddling. Perfect Fit will be for future trunk shows, but En Provence is for our guest room. 

The rest of the week promises more progress on both of these quilts, as well as more quilting on Modern Birds in the Air and the mini sample of Perfect Fit, not to mention hand binding the rest of my way around the Florida quilt. 

I couldn't resist picking up a bit of quilty reading when I was out last night

I couldn't resist picking up a bit of quilty reading when I was out last night

What are you working on this week? Find me on Instagram @stringandstory to share your work and to see daily updates on my projects. In addition, join me on Saturday mornings for creatively inspiring Newsletter by signing up here. 

More soon, my friends!

HollyAnne

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Machine Quilting Blog Hop

#MachineQuiltingBlogHop: Week 8 :: U-Turns

Good Morning, everyone!!

Welcome back to the #MachineQuiltingBlogHop! I was so busy quilting this week that I forgot to keep a day-by-day journal of what I worked on and what I learned. However, I'm confident that I quilted at least 5 days this week, and I'm really excited to share what I've been up to. 

First of all, if you're new around here, I'm so delighted to have you! Let me catch you up to speed: for 8 weeks now, Kristin, Vicki, Jen, and I have been quilting and blogging out way through The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting by Angela Walters and Christa Watson. Both Angela and Christa are known for their encouraging spirits and for advising their students to keep practicing in order to see improvement in their quilting. My friends and I set out to put that advice to the test and see what would happen if we committed to quilting (especially free motion quilting) for ten weeks straight. Personally, I committed to quilting at least 5 days each week (even if only 10-20 minutes), and I've been pretty faithful to that commitment. Spoiler alert: Angela and Christa were right. I've seen AMAZING improvements in my work, and I've been so uplifted by all the folks on Instagram who have commented that they see my progress, too! 

This week, we are rounding the final curve as we head into the last third of our #MachineQuiltingBlogHop. The motifs we worked on this week and will work on next are review, then, for Week 10, we will jump back to the whole cloth quilt chapter and challenge ourselves to a sort of "cumulative review" by doing our own whole cloth quilt. I was giddy to see this week's lineup because I wanted to work toward finishing some of the quilts I've started as part of the hop and because I wanted to see if I could spot my progress. 

I started by finishing the Operation Smiley quilt I started at the end of last week. I used a spiral chain of sorts to improvise a transition from a walking foot spiral to double loops. Then, I quilted switchbacks in the borders. These were so much easier and smoother than last time I quilted this motif! 

Next up: Finishing the Florida quilting. I did funky waves in the background a few weeks ago, and I've been stuck on how to quilt the appliqué ever since. I started easy-- just doing some echoing lines inside the hexes while I stared at the "orange trees" that shape Florida. Then, I decided to keep the tops of the trees simple and get funky in the stems. It was another opportunity to warm up my ribbon candy (which still gives me some trouble). wishbones, etc.

Each time I trust my instincts and experiment, free motion quilting gets easier. I did this with the progression on the Operation Smiley quilt, and the result wasn't my favorite, but there was still something empowering about committing to an idea and being okay with, especially on a utilitarian quilt like that, it not turning out perfectly. On Florida, I trusted my instinct, and I'm wonderfully pleased with the result. I hope I have the binding finished by next week to share!

Finally: More Modern Birds in the Air. I had no idea when I started quilting this that I would still be quilting it. I think I finally understand the concept of quilting something to death. This week, I finished a color block, a border, and made more progress on the center birds. When I was working on the graffiti quilting Saturday, I hit a special kind of zen. I was relaxed, but I was also focused. I worked on the quilt more yesterday, and I had a lovely time doing it, but it wasn't the same. Saturday was the first real understanding of "the zone"-- where my stitches look better not worse because I was enjoying myself. I look forward to quilting becoming more and more like that. 

As I gave away at the beginning: all my practice is making progress! It's thrilling! Be sure to check out what Kristin, Vicki, and Jen worked on this week, and click the badge below to visit the Machine Quilting Blog Hop Directory to read interviews with Angela, Christa, and the blog hoppers, plus links to the previous weeks' posts! Then, tag your quilting practice with #machinequiltingbloghop so I can enjoy your work and cheer you on, too!

Stay up to date on my daily shenanigans by following me on Instagram @stringandstory, and join me for creative inspiration on Saturday Mornings while we enjoy our coffee by signing up for my Newsletter, too!

Happy Stitching, friends!

HollyAnne

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