My name is Darla and I am one of the new bloggers out there. I am a beginner quilter with a lot of quilting and blogging ambitions, and a unique perspective.
Rather than spending a lot of time talking about my blog Scientific Quilter, I wanted to share a (long) story of my experiences of the past year that lead me to be a quilting blogger.
I started quilting when I received a free sewing machine from work in February of 2009 and somehow in my head I had thought you had to have a sewing machine to be a quilter. I’ve wanted to be a quilter for several years, but kept putting off that idea because I kept putting off the idea of buying all the supplies.
A year earlier I had purchased a book on quilting – Your First Quilt Book by Carol Doak and it sat in my car for most of that year while the quilting idea kept bubbling up. Once I got the sewing machine, the book was opened and read cover to cover.
I used the book and some tutorials I found on the internet to get through the blocks of my first quilt, trying out different colors at the store. I also checked out several books from the library and started reading them cover to cover, starting to figure out what it was about the quilts that I liked. I found the local quilt store and started looking in wonder at all the beautiful designs. I created a second quilt made only of squares, but like many projects set it aside for a while and signed up for a machine quilting class at the quilt shop.
In April or May, I started thinking about using my iPod for more than music from my own CDs and I opened up iTunes, typed in the word quilting into the music store and here were all these quilting podcasts. I had a lot of questions about what I was seeing at first. What was a quilting podcast? How did I download it? Were they free?
I clicked on Alex Anderson’s Quilt Connection and hit the play button on the first episode. Someone was going to talk about their love of quilting for a period of time. Amazing. I was hooked immediately. I hit subscribe on the podcast and found the podcast section on my iTunes (on the left side) and started downloading episodes. And they were free! I loaded them onto my iPod the same way I did for my music and went out and cleaned my car listening to the podcast with headphones. While I was doing other things, I was learning about quilting!
I didn’t always know who was being discussed or interviewed, couldn’t see what was being discussed, but sometimes that was okay. This became a habit of mine, cleaning up and listening to podcasts about quilting, and then driving to and from work listening to podcasts about quilting. When Alex Anderson’s podcasts were caught up, I repeated the process of searching on iTunes for the word quilting and found Annie Smith’s Quilting Stash podcast. The same occurred, I downloaded and listened. Finally, I was so enamored to Annie Smith and how much she talked about podcasting, and all the (quilting famous) people she interviewed, and how much she appreciated her listeners that I started listening to the part in the podcast where she said where her blog is found.
More questions followed: What was a blog? How does it work? Are there any quilting blogs? Well as all 3500+ of you know – I was completely in the dark about the wonderfulness that was to come for me. Following Annie’s instructions to her blog, I did some searches on the internet and found a cornucopia of wonderful quilting information and quilting ideas.
Actually, Annie promoted several other quilting podcasts, notably Within a Quarter Inch, and Patchwork and Pacifiers. Then later came Sew Stitch Create, Quilted Cupcake, and at this point I was listening to all these podcasts at the same time so I don’t really remember who exactly promoted who first. I started visiting Annie’s blog, and the other quilters blogs (mainly podcaster’s blogs at first) on a regular basis – many times after new episodes. These ladies were talking about quilting in their own style, with their own tips, and their own home, sitting in front of their computer, some with a lot of experience, some with not as much experience, some with a lot of editing, and some with hardly any editing. A quilting Internet radio show of sorts.
By the summer time, I was starting to comment, starting to feel a part of the community. Even Sew Stitch Create took time to talk about my applique quilt I made and sent pictures of – boy that was really nice that someone took the time to share my work with others and people left really great comments on it.
Within a Quarter Inch kept talking about picking up a microphone and gave me a running account of life with two young twins and quilting. Patchwork and Pacifiers really made me laugh and smile a lot while I was listening, and Quilted Cupcake got me out and starting to look at goodwill where I found my first (small) quilt rack. The Pioneer Quilter got me thinking about handwork and the connection to the past generations.
Later, Jackie’s Quilting Chronicles started to answer any questions I may have had about giving a quilt to a long arm, and Quilts N Kids shared her love of the quilting library and had her kids participate in helping bring the podcast to an open and close. Mirkwood Designs: Adventures in Creativity shared my love of Alton Brown and Good Eats and gave us quilting (fiber arts), cards (paper arts), and food (recipes) as well as music.
Then venturing to craft-specific podcasts CraftyPod introduced incredibly fun bumper music and a whole slew of ideas and interviews, Craft Sanity gave us a whole lot of fiber art interviews with incredible “spot on” interviews about knitters and quilters, and CraftCast introduced us to jewelry making and the art of being creative and the creative process.
How could you not interact with this many wonderful varied podcasters and bloggers? How could you not learn an incredible amount of information for free? I did figure out that you didn’t have to have iTunes to download and listen to the podcasts – the podcasting bloggers had places on their blogs you could listen at your computer (or internet connection). These were free blogs and free podcasts and a few people here and there have always appreciated donations, but none of these podcasts are a business – the people behind them seem to podcast and blog out of their own love for quilting and other crafts. For me, the audio podcasts were always better because I could always listen even if I didn’t have time to look.
Finally venturing out on my own – during the summer I thought of a few things that were important to me – things that I liked and had always held my own personal interest.
I went to school for a scientific degree, wanted to work in NASA, a planetarium (I did actually, it was great!), a science museum, and then teach science, and now I work in a science lab. I always liked the idea of crafting, but I liked the idea of science and math too. How could I figure out something that would combine my interests?
Well this summer I started a “practice blog” on blogger that had the two ideas together. The blogging thing didn’t work out at my first site, but I think perhaps it had more to do with my computer problems then the actual site itself. I opened up my own blog Scientific Quilter on wordpress. A nagging feeling that I needed to start a science and quilting podcast kept bugging me, and I finally found a microphone in my house I wasn’t using and before long I was able to join the sisters I felt so close to.
I am using this guest blogger spot to encourage others to go out and find something like a quilting podcast and give it a try. I would like to help spread the podcasting community to many more quilters to give others the chance to have a warm voice telling them its nice to have them listen. It’s a great way to help feel a part of this quilting community!
… Or if you feel the podcasting itch … pick up a microphone and I can add your name and blog to the list!
Keep experimenting from Darla at the Scientific Quilter
I want to thank Darla for putting together this fabulous guest post and sharing her podcasting experience with all of us. I’ve listened to a few podcasts, and am looking forward to trying out some of the others Darla mentions. I do maintain a list of Quilting TV/Videos and Podcasts here on the Quilting Gallery site (found in Quilter’s Fun). If you have a quilting-related podcast or vidcast, please share it in the comments below, and I’ll be sure to add it to my page.
P.S. Have a snowman quilt? Enter it in this week’s contest.
Download Five FREE Quilt Block Tutorials:
Stay in touch ... Join my NEWSLETTER: