Alive…

So…

It’s been several eternities since I’ve posted here, hasn’t it???

The big reason is that I’ve needed to spend a lot more time on family things, some great, some complicated. We’ve transitioned the family back across the Atlantic with the endless list of accompanying complexities, and we’ve traveled all over Europe. We’ve learned about lockdown procedures in American schools, and watched Babbit learn about a zillion new words every day. We’ve tried to figure out the inner workings of the six-year-old mind, and marveled at the wonderful machinations of that same six-year-old mind. I know that six months seems an eternity in the life of a blog, but from this side that time has seemed an ridiculous, joyous, terrible, frantic, infuriating, and extraordinary blur…

At last, though, things seem to be returning to some degree of normalcy, whatever that might actually be in my life. Earlier this week I finally pulled my trusty Janome out of the attic and started sewing again. It isn’t that I’ve put all this quilting stuff aside over the past six months; there just hasn’t been the time to actually make. Trust me; there has been a lot going on behind the scenes. Perhaps I should bring you all up to date…

Over the summer I did a segment with Sew with Nancy, which will air on PBS later this month. No, I didn’t fly back for it; we used the wonders of the Interwebs and Skype to chat trans-Atlantically. I’ll let you all know when I have an actual air date and we can see if I was at all coherent (imagine asking me to say anything in just five minutes).

In November I’ll be heading out to the western part of the county to do workshops with the modern guilds in the Denver area, including my favorite workshop: a museum tour and design master class. While in Denver I’ll be taping with The Quilt Show (with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims) and a few segments with QNNTV. Yep kids, they are trusting me on video. Considering I used the word crap about a dozen times in one paragraph during an interview with Love Patchwork and Quilting over in the UK they may need to get that beep button out. (Fingers crossed.)

While out there I’ll also be zipping down to do a lecture and workshops for the Arizona statewide quilt guild, which should be a blast. I get four days to work with them and talk about stuff; that seems like my kind of timeframe as it usually takes me about a day to say hello.

Oh, and then after all of that I am popping out to SLC to do a week-long residency at HandiQuilter. I’m working on a suite of marriage quilts that I’ll be taking advantage of the wonders of computerized long-arming to do virtually impossible quilting based on translating the wedding vows my wife and I used into Morse code, Braille, binary, and forms. You have no idea how excited I am about this, and hope to work with HQ for years to come.

quilts

I’ll also be doing a weekend at the Schweinfurth Art Center (home of Quilting by the Lake) with Jacquie Gering in December, and will be doing workshops and talks all over the country in the coming year, including a whole set of things in Chicago next March. I also hope to work more and more with Olde City Quilts just outside of Philly on the Jersey side; I have fallen in love with that place and with teaching there. Oh, and Judy and Rob are just awesome…

Of course, I’ve kept up with my Quilter’s Newsletter columns and have done a couple of quilts for Quilty and Love of Quilting. Still chugging along with all the stuff even if it seems like I’ve disappeared. Heck, don’t be surprised if there is more fabric coming from me in 2015, but that is still a secret (though maybe not so secret anymore). Just think awesome, and designy, and distinctly not your typical American collection…

So, there has been much afoot over here behind the scenes. The children have been growing, new collaborations are coming together, and taken a much needed break from the world of social media. As much as I love my friends on the Intertubes, a few things have happen out here in SM land that have left me needing to step away for a while. I probably won’t become that prolific blogger that I once was; I’ve grown far more guarded, a reality I don’t regard as a good thing, but a needed one. The reality of having two children now also just doesn’t afford me the time. And finally, I am just going to be too crazy busy for the foreseeable future: so many quilts to make, things to design, essays to write, and, of course, I need to get thinking about that next book.

Hmm… I think it might be time for my own TV show too, perhaps. What do you think: me, some elemental quilting shapes, and a design wall? Quilt design master classes broadcast out for the universe; you know you want more gestalt design theory in your lives…

More later, but for now I have five more tops to bang out before the end of the month because there is gonna be a whole lot of quilting going on at HandiQuilter.

-t

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Paris (and some thank yous)…

thomas-knauer-sews-paris

Please forgive me for letting things lapse these past few days. Yes, the blog tour has continued on, and the last few posts have been wonderful.

Amy Smart generously took the time to take part even though she is about to launch her own book: Fabulously Fast Quilts.

Sara Lawson took time in the midst of getting to launch her new fabric collection with Art Gallery and a slew of new patterns to share the Modern Quilt Perspectives love.

Kim Niedzwiecki of Go Go Kim, posted to the blog tour yesterday with her usual kindness and, well, effusiveness, and even threw in some Aurifil (because I always love my Aurifil and buy it by the box).

And today, the brilliant Rashida Coleman-Hale joined in the blog tour, dusting off the blog and taking time away from the preparations for the big Cotton + Steel coming out party at Market in Pittsburgh.

I am so enormously grateful to each and every one of them, and certainly owe them a long post of love, but you see, right now I am Paris, in bed, with a fever pushing 104. Actually we are all sick. We hit EuroDisney with K having what seemed a bit of a cold, and we hit Paris proper and promptly called for medical help (which came to our flat) and we found that we are all rather ill. K and Bee are ill, but slightly human, Babbit is sick, but taking it is his usual baby stride, but I am feeling the effects of a high fever on my HKPP, so here I am in bed, vaguely coherent.

So, for the time being this expression of my gratitude and my love may have to do. I am sorry for the sudden drop off around here, and I am sorry I have not posted the love that you all deserve. Perhaps you will forgive me if I bring you candy to Market. That always helps, right???

But for now I am going to crawl back deeper under the blankets and hope I can be human tomorrow. Paris awaits, and K surely needs some help with the kids…

-t

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Teresa Coates (the Modern Quilt Perspectives blog tour)…

(Go read Teresa’s post for the Modern Quilt Perspectives blog tour; it is a beautiful post, and Teresa is just awesome…)

I have this list. Well, I haven’t actually written it down, but it is in my head and that is a good as writing it down, at least most of the time. It’s the list of people I want to work with all the time if I ever hit the point where I can actually afford to work with people all the time and stuff. It may sound like an arrogant list to have, but I don’t think small; you should know that about me by now. But back to the list…

It isn’t a very long list because in general I am pretty skeptical about people (another thing I assume you all know about me by now). It is not that I am the suspicious sort; if anything I am too trusting, which has time and again gotten me into trouble, or at least left me pissed off. Nonetheless, I have this list, this short list.

One more thing about this list though, it isn’t the list of everybody I like; there are a bunch of you out there. This is a different list, a strange one, one solely populated by the people I somehow think get the world in a way that would synch up amazingly with the way I do, people that get it right down into the fiber of stuff. It is the list of THEM, or perhaps US, or something like that. It is a very secret list. It is my list.

teresa coatesThat said, and to hopefully move this monologue into a less creepy golumesque direction, Teresa Coates is firmly on that list. I don’t actually know just when we first met; I know it was at Market, but pretty much every Market is a blur of exhaustion and medication for me. I have a vague recollection of talking too much and probably leaving her with the impression that I am stark raving mad (I leave a lot of people with that impression). But I was also left with the impression that this woman was someone to know, someone who saw bigger pictures, someone who had a vision for things that truly matter.

Whether it is her passion for this fabricky, sewerly landscape, or her abiding commitment to the children of the Tam Ky orphanage in Vietnam, or the basic reality of her making it through days, and ability I profoundly admire as I so often doubt my own ability to do just that, Teresa is one of the true inspirations in this industry. No, she isn’t the one who sets out to inspire, but for anyone who looks closely, who pays attention, it is right there. To put it in my usual vernacular: Teresa Coates, you are effing awesome and I want everyone to know that!!!

tam-kyAnd that is why Teresa is on that list, the usually secret list. Well, that is a little bit of it, but trust me the list of reasons Teresa is on that very short list is a very long list, but I will leave it to you to find out more, and hopefully add her to your list. And with any luck Teresa will be running this show (the whole quilty, fabricky universe) before long, ‘cause it would be a much better place if she did. Fingers crossed…

Much love, and thank you Teresa for taking part in the blog tour and for being awesome, of course…

-t

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Days…

Days are complicated things. They can start out one way and then turn on a dime and go another. This is a phenomenon I am generally used to with the whole HKPP thing and all with days crashing down around me as something sends me into yet another paralytic state. But then there are days that pivot for entirely unexpected reasons, a moment, a word, a bit of happenstance out of the blue…

Today was one of those days.

I don’t like those days.

I thought I liked today, but now I am not quite so sure. Perhaps another moment will pop up and turn it around, but as it has grown dark and the number of hours until the children will be up in the morning has snuck into the single digits it seems unlikely. But who knows; anything is possible…

Until then, I’ll leave you with this image, yet another of my requests for help in making the marketing people at F+W happy, and possibly getting me a lovely bottle of whisky at Market…

thomas-knauer-sews-amazon

And you know I must be serious because I really love both porcupines and metaphysics…

Now let’s hope tomorrow properly kicks ass, and not just until late afternoon…

-t

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Rachel May (the Modern Quilt Perspectives blog tour)…

(Head over to the Quilting with a Modern Slant blog to read Rachel’s post for the MQP blog tour. I am insanely honored to be included in her book, and grateful that she is taking part in the blog tour. Thank you so much Rachel…)

Almost two years ago I got an email out of the blue; it was from a complete stranger asking about doing an interview for a book on modern quilting. At that point it was just eighteen months since I had made my first quilt, so I was a bit flabbergasted (yep, I like that word: flabbergasted). Yes, I had come out with three fabric collections at that point, but didn’t really think I had done anything much of note yet. I had just signed the contract for Modern Quilt Perspectives, and I certainly had plans to do things around here, but really, interview me for a book??? That email was from Rachel May, author of Quilting with a Modern Slant, and lead to one of the best quilty phone calls I have ever had.

QuiltingwithModernSlantI couldn’t be more honored that Rachel did want to interview me; I am truly excited to be a small piece in what is an incredibly important book, though I wish I could replace the quilts I have in there now. It feels like centuries since I made those, and all the quilts I really wanted to include were going to be wrapped up in Modern Quilt Perspectives. But that is the way I always feel; I am pretty sure that in a year or two I’ll want to hide all of the quilts in this book. But I digress, yet again…

I am so excited for the success Rachel has been having with Quilting with a Modern Slant, and hope she is already planning a second book, Quilting with a Postmodern Slant, perhaps???

I could go on and on about Rachel’s book; in fact I already have. You should go read my post about Quilting with a Modern Slant right here. But I do want to pull an excerpt from my post here, a bit that I really think gets to the core of why I think Rachel’s book should be in everybody’s quilting library:

“she opens up a space in which we can explore just what quilting means to us today. It’s not so important to pin down exactly what modern means, but it is significant to recognize that something different is happening now, that the impulse to quilt in the 21st century is an impulse worthy of investigation. And throughout Quilting with a Modern Slant, Rachel offers that anthropological eye as she weaves together a remarkable perspective on the recent revival of quilting.”

It is my profound hope that Modern Quilt Perspectives can offer a little something to go with Rachel’s work, a view that goes beyond the aesthetic and may provide some answers as to why quilting is particularly relevant today.

And know what, it makes me crazy happy to see this on Amazon, the perpetual offer to pair our two books:

thomas-knauer-sews-together

So, in that vein, I am happy to be giving away a copy of Quilting with a Modern Slant on my blog while Rachel is giving away a copy of Modern Quilt Perspectives over on the QwaMS blog. Kinda awesome, right???

QuiltingwithModernSlant

For a chance to win a copy of Rachel’s book here just comment on this post. I’ll draw the winner on April 5th (‘cause we’re heading off to Paris on the 6th and I gotta wrap this up before then…)

So, thank you Rachel for including me in your book and having the confidence that I would deserve to be there. I am both flattered and honored. And thank you for taking part in the MQP blog tour. Now to actually find a time to hang out and get all geeky about quilts. Go-go Gadget academic quilters!!!

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