Each time I write about my Out of the Box challenges I get questions about the group itself. I plan to start answering them along the way. Please feel free to add your questions to the comments so I can keep a running list. All these posts will be tagged with the Out of the Box category. I also went back and tagged past posts about the group (I’d missed a few!) with the category so they can be easily viewed together.
The question I get most often is “What advice do you have for starting my own group?” If I read between the lines, I think that really means “How do I meet people that would enjoy participating in a group like this with me?” I’m going to tackle that today. (As a side note, I did not start my Out of the Box group. I was asked to participate and jumped at the chance!)
Moving to Bainbridge Island 3 years ago required me to make new friends. Here is a list of things I did:
- I took my first quilting class at Esther’s. My teacher was Margret Darrah. She is an extraordinarily talented woman and I’ve had the pleasure of becoming her friend since we first met in class. There were two other students in my class. One I’ve never seen since. The second I ran into at a drop-in knitting session at Churchmouse two weeks ago. She finished her quilt too. Margret started Out of the Box last year and invited me to join.
- I took my second quilting class at Esther’s and learned to machine quilt. Two of the students told me about the Kitsap Quilter’s Guild and encouraged me to join. I did. The teacher and one of the students are now also Out of the Box group members.
- I’ve been involved with the guild for two years. Last year I stepped up and took on a committee chair position for the annual quilt show. Each time I volunteer I meet new people. The majority of quilters would consider themselves traditional in their style and the average age is much older than I am. There’s always a few subversives (young and old) that show their modern quilts during show and tell, I always make a point of getting to know them.
- I take classes that are offered through my guild. At one of these classes I sat next to a woman that told me about the American Sewing Guild. I joined that group too. It’s much smaller and more intimate than the quilt guild and I’ve made several good friends.
- Whenever I meet new people I ask them if they sew or knit. I learned that my neighbor across the street makes quilts and so does the office secretary at school. A friend of mine that doesn’t sew told a friend of hers that sews clothes about me and ‘this clothes sewing group’ I go to every month. She joined ASG several months ago.
The point of all these examples is that none of them were an instant source of crafty friends but they were all journeys that led to meeting the talented women I’m friends with today.
The Out of the Box challenge for February was:
“Create an original work composed entirely out of organic materials. The idea is that, if need be, this item will assimilate back into nature anonymously.”
I’ve tried really hard to keep my challenge projects fiber based. My primary goal for participating in the group is to have a structured monthly task that requires a stretch of my creativity and results in the creation of at least one art related quilt every four weeks.
The winter has been very cold for a very long time and I am SO ready for Spring. That inspired the tomato plant marker idea. I’ll write in the varieties with a permanent pen once I get things planted. I envision these will deteriorate over time, similar to prayer flags.
I used the organic cottons I won from Sew, Mama, Sew via the Whip Up challenge. The dyes are all natural based, non-toxic and biodegradable. I fudged because the cotton thread, batting and linen backing obviously all have chemicals in them from the production process. I’m excited to use these in my garden this year. Come on Spring!