Surfing the ‘Net for Fabric and Fibres

This post was written by Mary Elizabeth O’Toole

Last Tuesday, Stephen presented some favourite online woodworking resources in his post Tech Tuesday: That Internet Thing.  This week, I’ll continue the discussion with a few sites to inspire you in your work in fabric and fibre.

The Internet thing has definitely caught on in these areas as well.  You can find like-minded creatives by joining a community of users with wide interests or one working from a single common pattern or design.  You can choose to become active in discussions and challenges, or simply lurk, admire and learn.  There are a wide variety of interactive communities that you can find with search terms like “Sew Along” “Knit Along” or “Block of the Month (BOM)”.  You can even find pages that have done the  searching for you like Quilt Along.net, which offers an extensive list of quilt alongs, BOM projects, mystery quilts and link parties.

If you’d like some accountability or shared enthusiasm as motivation to tackle partially finished projects, consider entering a challenge like the American Patchwork and Quilting 2017 UFO challenge or joining a Facebook group like The Stashbusting Sewalong  For a different approach, visit Elm Street Quilts for quilt or bag sew alongs and the fun “One Monthly Goal” initiative (this one has prizes).

If you are looking for a more traditional gathering, you can search online to connect with local communities where you can attend meetings, sewing days, retreats or shows.  Guilds in Nova Scotia include the Mayflower Quilters’ Guild,  The Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) – Atlantic Canada, the  Maritime Modern Quilt Guild  and the Mahone Bay Quilters Guild (my local guild), to name just a few.   Pop over to Karen Henry’s Quilt the Atlantic for a detailed listing of guilds – and other quilting resources – covering  all the Atlantic Provinces.

For resources and inspiration across a span of fibre arts or mixed media, try comprehensive sites like  textileartist.org  or Creative Cloth or Artistic Artifacts , or find the online version of favourite magazines.    If you are a quilter, you might want to visit Quilting Daily, home of Quilting Arts magazine,  for tutorials and techniques on a range of quilting styles, or you might want to  focus on a  favourite from traditional to modern, abstract to realistic.  For example, try Sharon B’s Pin Tangle  to learn more about hand embroidery and crazy quilting or visit Chezzetcook Modern Quilts  for tutorials and inspiration about modern quilting.

Of course, there are many talented fibre artists who maintain blogs that allow you to get a glimpse into their work and processes.  It would be impossible to highlight even fraction of the many options.  Search your favourite artists or find suggestions through blog posts, e-zines or Facebook.  Here are just a few artist blogs that I follow: Elaine Quehl,  Tanglewood Thread  and A quarter Inch from the Edge.

If you want to develop new skills, YouTube is always a source of demos and tutorials, of varying quality and content.  It might take some searching to find ones that suit your interests and style, but once you do, you can subscribe and follow.  Find longer more structured classes visit designated learning sites like Craftsy, Creative Live,  or Skill Share.  The platform, delivery style and offerings vary on these sites.  Some have pay-per-class structures and others operate on monthly plans.  All seem to have intro options or special sale offerings.  You might decide to stick with one favourite or you might want to mix it up and get classes from multiple sources.

The list of online resources is always evolving and there are always sites coming, going or changing focus.  Our links are current as of this writing in Feb. 2017 but are always subject to change.  I hope you find something of value and there will constantly be more to find.  It is easy to lose many many hours surfing for new leads and your next favourite.  Keep surfing and searching but be sure to also take the time to use the information and keep creating.  I admit to some days getting so caught up in the hunt for ideas that I run out of time for any actual quilting.

Whether you prefer a broad sweeping approach that allows you to tip your toe in a variety of creative endeavours, or a site that caters to specific interests and a more narrow focus, you are sure to find other like-minder creators to share your passion, offer inspiration, help you overcome challenges, and cheer your shared projects.

I am sure that I missed many of your favourites.  Please share your recommendations in the comments.  I would love to stay and chat but I have discovered several new online places that I want to review.

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