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creativity for the soul goals

Excited, and scared, but growing

FeelGood Fibers/Leland Ave Studios

Hello, friends! Happy 2020! It’s been a minute since I posted here. Mostly because of the holidays. And life. And also because I haven’t been in my sewing space much these past few months. But instead, I have been allocating my creative time to working hard behind-the-scenes to build FeelGood Fibers into the kind of creative community you’d want to be a part of when it launches on February 2nd. 

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creativity for the soul goals

7 Ideas for Eco-Friendly Quilting

With so much gorgeous fabric in the world, and new lines of tempting palettes coming out all the time, it’s hard to think about how our fabric choices can have an impact on the world. It seems so complicated to sift through all of the information out there, and to imagine that tiny little me can really make a difference one way or the other. . . right? But when we all come together to change our habits, we really can have an impact. And one easy way to make a difference is by incorporating some eco-friendly habits into our quilting practice.

If we each consciously choose to use fabrics that we already have in our homes, that we can repurpose, or that we can purchase second-hand (even part of the time), we can limit the amount of resources needed to create new fabrics. We don’t have to change everything all at once. We can take small steps with each project, and over time, our eco-friendly actions will create the change we want to see.

Here are 7 ways that you can easily start making a difference today!

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for the soul

50 Podcasts Recommended For Quilters

50 Podcasts for Quilters

If you love to listen to podcasts while you sew, then have I got a treat for you! This list of 50 popular podcasts was compiled from the recommendations that you guys shared with me through the Fiber Artists: What Matters Most to You survey and via Instagram.

You guys have an awesome range of interests, from science to business, pop culture to social change, personal growth, comedy — and of course, crafts and quilting! 

I hope that this list will help you the next time you are in your sewing room and think to yourself, what should I listen to next??

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for the soul

How To Be More Thoughtful About: Fabric Consumption

As you guys probably know, I spent 2018 curating The Creativity Project: Getting to the Heart of “Why” We Quilt. It was an essential step in my own creative process. It helped me to understand the connection our creativity has to our mind, body, and spirt. But the more attention that I gave to my creative process, the more I felt that it is not enough to just consider “why” we quilt. It is also essential to consider the manner in which we do it. I’ll call this “how” we quilt.

For starters, I should know how fabric is made, in order to have a more meaningful and connected quilting practice. In addition, I’d like to know: how does my hobby as a quilter impact the earth? How does it impact the people that make fabric? Where does fabric waste go (cuttings, excess batting, large unwanted scraps)? Is there is a way for me to be a “better” Maker?

After some research, here is what I learned.

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creativity finishes

Typecast of Characters Tour: I Is For I Love You

Kim Soper/Leland Ave Studios Typecast Pattern Project
Typecast of Characters Blog Tour by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill Letter I by Kim Soper of Leland Ave Studios

Hello, hello! Welcome to my stop on the Typecast of Characters tour!

So, funny story. . . when Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill of Whole Circle Studio asked me to help celebrate the release of her new Typecast EPP pattern, I was a little bit nervous, but mostly psyched. I had never made anything with EPP before, so I looked at this as an opportunity to learn a new skill — or fail hard. But I’d seen so many pictures of pretty hexie EPP projects on line, I figured, why not give it a shot?

Which is why, when I opened the envelope with the pattern pieces, I was in a panic that I had misplaced something. I was so confused. . . this was EPP, right?!?. . . so, where were the hexies??? I decided I would track Sheri down at QuiltCon to apologize for losing the hexies she *must* have sent, and see if I could get a replacement package. Well, joke was on me! We all got a good laugh when it was explained to me that: You can EPP with ANY SHAPE! And the shapes in Sheri’s pattern make it super-easy to learn this new (and addicting) skill!

Typecast of Characters Blog Tour by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill Letter I by Kim Soper of Leland Ave Studios
(oh, hello, picture-I-thought-was-in-focus-but-turns-out-it-was-blurry)

Let’s get started: I began with some gorgeous Liberty fabric, my new scissors that I bought from Brooklyn Haberdashery, my Typecast EPP template, and a glue stick. (Note: do as I say, not as I do. Apparently this type of glue could have distorted my fabric and not easily come off of the template. Beginners luck, I had no problems, but I don’t know if I, or you, would be so lucky the next time around).

I started by marking the pattern pieces for my “I”, as suggested by Sheri in the pattern instructions. Now, if you’re wondering why I was selected for the letter “I” when my initials are I-lacking, it’s because I-is-for-EASY. No curves. No challenges for my EPP-naive self.

Typecast of Characters Blog Tour by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill Letter I by Kim Soper of Leland Ave Studios

Sheri recommends labeling each piece of the Typecast template with the letter name, as well as identifying each piece as either positive (a part of the letter) or negative (a part of the background), to help keep things organized once the template is pulled apart. I added additional numbering so I could keep track of the order in which I wanted to re-assemble the papers once the fabric was attached.

Typecast of Characters Blog Tour by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill Letter I by Kim Soper of Leland Ave Studios

Next, I used a whip stitch to sew the pieces together. At first I was using a ladder stitch, which made the stitches invisible, but was taking way too long. Then Jenny from PapperSaxSten mentioned a tutorial from Karen the DIY Addict that shows you how to whipstitch in a way that the stitches will not be visible from the front. It was really helpful, so if you are interested in EPP-ing like an award-winner, I’d recommend you check it out!

Typecast of Characters Blog Tour by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill Letter I by Kim Soper of Leland Ave Studios

Once my block was complete, I knew that I wanted to incorporate it into a Liberty-inspired embroidery project. I drew out the letters for “love you” while listening to the Don’t Keep Your Day Job podcast, and the time just flew by. Before I knew it, it was time to pick my kids up from the bus stop.

Typecast of Characters Blog Tour by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill Letter I by Kim Soper of Leland Ave Studios

In case you are interested in doing something similar, I outlined the letters using black pearl cotton in a chain stitch. To embellish the words, if you squint, you can see I faintly drew some motifs in pencil that mirrored the flowers in the Liberty fabric. I used Anchor floss in a variety of colors to fill them in — and had so much fun doing it!

Typecast of Characters Blog Tour by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill Letter I by Kim Soper of Leland Ave Studios
The finished pillow!

Finally, I stitched the words together and turned it into a bolster pillow, which is now sitting (much to my husband’s chagrin) as the 7th pillow on our bed.

Typecast of Characters Blog Tour by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill Letter I by Kim Soper of Leland Ave Studios
Sorry, babe. I love you?

Thanks so much to Sheri for including me on this blog hop. I was really fortunate to have this deadline to force me to learn a skill I’d been intimidated by for a long time. Now I know, not only is it easy, but it’s SO MUCH FUN!

My stop was only the 9th letter on the Typecast tour, so make sure to keep up with all of the letter project that Sheri is sharing on her IG feed and at the blogs below. There are so many chances to WIN! And a very special thanks to you, Sheri, for including me in this project! I’m forever changed for the better thanks to this experience!

Typecast of Characters Blog Tour by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill Letter I by Kim Soper of Leland Ave Studios

TYPECAST OF CHARACTERS BLOG TOUR hosted by Whole Circle Studio:
• Wednesday, March 27: Tour Introduction by Whole Circle Studio
• Monday, April 1 — A: Kate Brennan of Aurifil
• Tuesday, April 2 — B: Mathew Bourdreaux of Mister Domestic
• Wednesday, April 3 — C: Tara Curtis of Wefty Needle
• Thursday, April 4— D: Leah Day of Free Motion Quilting Project
• Friday, April 5 — Week 1 Wrap Up featuring A-D and GIVEAWAY at Whole Circle Studio
• Monday, April 8 — E: Jess Finn of Paper Pieces
• Tuesday, April 9 — F: Sylvia Schaefer of Flying Parrot Quilts
• Wednesday, April 10 — G: Giuseppe Ribaudo of Giucy Giuce
• Thursday, April 11— H: Hilary Jordan of By Hilary Jordan
• Friday, April 12 — Week 2 Wrap Up featuring E-H and GIVEAWAY at Whole Circle Studio
• Monday, April 15 — I: Kim Soper of Leland Ave Studios
• Tuesday, April 16 — J: Yvonne Fuchs of Quilting Jetgirl
• Wednesday, April 17 — K: Karen O’Connor of Lady K Quilts
• Thursday, April 18 — L: Kristy Daum of St. Louis Folk Victorian
• Friday, April 19 — Week 3 Wrap Up featuring I-L and GIVEAWAY at Whole Circle Studio
• Monday, April 22 — M: Molli Sparkles of Molli Sparkles
• Tuesday, April 23 — N: Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft
• Wednesday, April 24 — O: Scott Hansen of Blue Nickel Studios
• Thursday, April 25 — P: Pat Sloan of Pat Sloan
• Friday, April 26 — Week 4 Wrap Up featuring M-P and GIVEAWAY at Whole Circle Studio
• Monday, April 29 — Q: Joanna Marsh of Kustom Kwilts
• Monday, April 29 — Q: Lindsay Széchényi of Lindsay Széchényi (and Patchwork Threads)
• Tuesday, April 30 — R: Andrea Tsang Jackson of 3rd Story Workshop
• Wednesday, May 1 — S: Sarah Thomas of Sariditty
• Thursday, May 2 — T: Rachel Rossi of Rachel Rossi
• Friday, May 3— Week 4 Wrap Up featuring Q-T and GIVEAWAY at Whole Circle Studio
• Monday, May 6 — U: Kitty Wilkin of Night Quilter
• Tuesday, May 7 — V: Jenn McMillan of Fabric, Ink
• Wednesday, May 8 — W: Jenny Meeker of Bobbin Roulette Studio
• Thursday, May 9 — X: Stephanie Kendron of Modern Sewciety
• Friday, May 10 — Week 5 Wrap Up featuring U-X and GIVEAWAY at Whole Circle Studio
• Monday, May 13 — Y: Debby Brown of Debby Brown Quilts
• Tuesday, May 14 — Z: Nisha Bouri and Kim Martucci of Brimfield Awakening
• Wednesday, May 15 — Week 6 Wrap Up featuring Y-Z, Tour closeout and GIVEAWAY at Whole Circle Studio

creativity The Creativity Project

The Creativity Project Week #52: Kim Soper

Kim Soper The Creativity Project Week 52 Leland Ave Studios

Welcome to the final week of 2018, and the last week of The Creativity Project! Over the past 52 weeks, we’ve come together every Friday with so many amazing artists and makers to try to get to the heart of “why” we create. For 52 weeks, we’ve come to this space with an open heart and curious mind, to hear each participant give voice to their personal creative process.

Throughout the year, many of you have asked if I would provide my own reflections on the interview questions. While I didn’t want my opinions to influence any of the respondent’s interpretation of the questions, I thought it only fair for me to experience what it is like to be the one sharing their personal process. And so, for this final installment of The Creativity Project, I give you — me.

Before we begin the final interview, I’d like to express how much I appreciate each and every one of you for taking the time out of your busy lives to read this project and reflect on its meaning. It has been a privilege to bring you this series, and I only hope that you have enjoyed it as much as I have. Thank you for coming along on this journey with me.

Of course I’d like to extend a HUGE thank you to all of the project participants: Melanie Tuazon, Jess Skultety, Michelle Cain, Laura Hartrich, Yvonne Fuchs, Shannon Fraser, Tiffany Horn, Andrea Tsang Jackson, Christa Watson, Silvia Sutters, Michelle Wilkie, Deborah Fisher, Michelle Bartholomew, Kirsty Cleverly, Steph Skardal, Laura McDowell Hopper, Daisy Aschehoug, Heather Black, Shelagh Jessop, Kathryn Upitis, Carole Lyles Shaw, Dash Masland, Victoria Gertenbach, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Mel Beach, Diana Vandeyar, Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill, Kristin Shields, Alexis Deise, Sujata Shah, Sara Trail, Gina Adams, Tara Faughnan, Melissa Averinos, Luke Haynes, Jen Broemel, Sarah Goer, Timna Tarr, Heidi Parkes, Alyce Blythe, Scarlet Sparkuhl, Riane Menardi, Zak Foster, Karen Duling, Jenny Haynes, Carolina Oneto, Kim Eichler-Messmer, Suzy Williams, Heather Jones, Sam Hunter, and of course all of you who participated in the survey. Thank you for taking the time to thoughtfully consider the interview questions. Without you this project could not exist! 

And now, without further ado, I give you the final installment of The Creativity Project.

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creativity The Creativity Project

The Creativity Project Week #51: Survey Results

Survey Results The Creativity Project Week #51 Kim Smith Soper Leland Ave Studios

This week, I’d like to start with a thank you.  To everyone in this community who has read an interview of The Creativity Project, found a new artist to follow, commented on my blog, sent me messages, or recommended this series to a friend – Thank You. When I embarked upon this journey at the beginning of the year, I knew it would be a lot of work.  However, the support you’ve given me, and the people that shared their words in this space, have made it all truly worth it. From the bottom of my heart, I cannot thank you enough.

Week #51 is a very special week as this week is all about you — the community of makers. A total of 444 of you participated in The Creativity Project survey over the past year.  You provided feedback and thoughtful comments from every corner of the United States and around the globe.  You were different ages and quilt at different skill levels. You work in different mediums and have different levels of engagement with various quilting communities. But no matter where you’ve come from, or how long you’ve been doing it, you were willing to be part of this project and share your thoughts on what drives you to create.

Thus, in spite of our differences (and our differences of opinion in how we answered the survey questions), what I’ve found is that overall, there is way more that make us similar than sets us apart.

For this week’s project, I will share how you answered these questions about creativity as well as some comments that reflected the general thoughts from the community. Thank you one last time again for taking the time to participate!  Welcome, and I hope you enjoy!

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creativity The Creativity Project

The Creativity Project Week #50: Sam Hunter

Sam Hunter The Creativity Project Week #50 Leland Ave Studios Kim Smith Soper Photo Credit:Melissa Joy Sleasman

Sam Hunter is a fiber artist and quilt pattern designer. Born in England, Sam split her formative years between Europe and the United States before settling in the USA permanently in  1981. Sam started sewing when she was only seven years old and then began quilting in her late twenties. Shortly thereafter, she started teaching quilting. Sam holds an MFA in Fiber Arts, and blends this classic training with a  sense of play in all that she does. Sam has exhibited her artwork throughout the United States, and has received numerous grants and awards, including a Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship. As a pattern designer, Sam is a champion for helping beginners develop their skills, while making patterns that are interesting enough to entice more advanced sewists. Sam has developed a Pattern Mission Statement that informs all of the work she creates. In addition, Sam is a champion for artists getting paid a fair value for their work. She created the We Are $ew Worth It campaign to empower artists and designers by providing resources on topics such as: keeping track of time when working, pricing, and other issues that arise when trying to place value on the work that we do. Sam is the author of numerous patterns and the book, Quilt Talk: Paper-Pieced Alphabet with Numbers & Symbols – 12 Chatty Projects. Her beautiful collaboration with artist Lisa Congdon is currently touring with the Modern Quilt Guild’s Modern Showcase. Welcome, Sam! Continue Reading