Monday, May 12, 2014

Welcome my Guest Blogger - Barbara Douglas

I am so excited to welcome Barbara Douglas as my guest blogger today.

Barbara has been quilting for more decades than she wants to contemplate. Beginning at the tender age of 8 with a cardboard square, a pencil, scissors, and a needle and thread, her grandmother started her on a path that would stay with her throughout her life.  She describes herself as an eclectic quilter because she enjoys a wide variety of quilting styles; pieced, appliqué, and art quilting, she loves it all. Designing is a passion; seeing if she can make her vision work in fabric is a challenge that she can’t resist exploring. But, by far the most favorite part of her quilting career is teaching. Mentoring, and encouraging brings her the greatest joy in quilting; for sharing the passion, passing on the tradition, (traditional, or not so traditional) is to her what quilting is all about. Alas the tradition skipped the next generation in her family, but settled on three of her six grandchildren.

 Please join me in welcoming, Barbara!

Quilting has been a hobby, a business and a passion for many years, but most of all, it has been an incredible journey.

Oh my life is ordinary enough. Laundry has to be done, dinners cooked, husband cared for, adult children to still be a mom to, and grandchildren tracking in mud while bringing me a bouquet of dandelions. I get stopped at crucial points in a project to go pick up the car at the mechanics, all the normal things in life that we all have to do. 

Then one day a friend emailed me. She works in an office; she is a real people person, so during the off season in the tax world her days can be long and slow in the office. She was bemoaning the fact that while she is sitting in the office not having much to do, she could have been sewing on her quilt at home and how blessed (her word) I was to have a job that allows me to be quilting every day. I was going to write back with a list of woes of my own; that many days my job is just a job, as well. Then I stopped myself; she didn’t need me to be trying to one-up her in job-woes, and it really started me thinking, why would I be complaining when I AM incredibly blessed in being able to work in a job that I love. 

As the old saying goes, I started counting those blessings. Bear with me, as this may sound a bit scattered, but this incredible journey has not been on a long, straight and boring highway, starting at Point A to just to end up at Point B, but rather on curvy and interesting paths; up breath taking rolling hills, and into deep verdant valleys.

I am an eclectic quilter for lack of a better word. I love traditional quilts, I love art quilts. I love quilted handbags and clothing. I love looking at them, designing them and making them all. I love color. I know that many designers find their ‘voice’ and create their treasures in similar palettes and designs. Me? Not so much… my ‘voice’, at best… is ‘all over the place’, My ‘voice’ is eclectic, and it suits me, even if it is all over the place.I have had several quilts travel around the country in national shows. 

I was honored to have my Morels in May hang at International Quilt Festival/ Market. 

I have had the privilege to film with Martha Pullen. 

My book Singular Sensations was on the publisher’s ‘best sellers’ list. 

Wow!  Wow!  Listing all of these blessings sounds incredibly wonderful.  And they are! As I write this I am absolutely awed by the opportunities that I have had!  I am awed, because, these are things that other people accomplish, not little Barby Jo, who was scared of her own shadow.  All in all, though, as wonderful as these opportunities have been, the best part of my job and my real passion in quilting, are the people!  Yes, the people - Quilters! 
I have met, taught and worked with people from around the country and around the world. Each sharing in this same passion we call quilting. This boggles my mind! I get to mingle with people everywhere who love the same thing as I do. 


From teaching beginner quilters, to encouraging more seasoned quilters to step out of their comfort zone, or just interacting with quilters, this all feeds me with creative energy. Each encounter encourages me to go forward, to build upon the foundation laid for me many decades ago by my mother, who taught me to sew, and my grandmother who started me quilting.  And… it encourages me to continue to encourage others. 

Even having a bad hair day is a good day when I am able to share my passion and fun with other quilters. Lesson learned: Even if you leave home without your hair dryer and curling iron, quilters will have fun with you anyway!

 Working with people in the industry has also been an incredible part of the journey. You haven’t lived until you stand before the ‘Greats’ in the industry, tongue tied and in awe! Then you realize they are people just like you, looking for another thread to try, or dropping proud tidbits about what their children are accomplishing.  I even had the opportunity to work with the Dutch Ambassador to Spain, whose other job is General Manager of a European thread company. What? How was that even possible! 

Today, I have the opportunity to work for a quilting magazine, The Quilt Pattern Magazine as a copy editor. I get to have sneak previews of upcoming new patterns and articles by new designers and seasoned quilters who love doing what they do, as well. Working with the staff at TQPM, who share the same passion as I do, is such a joy, how great is that?

I have not yet reached Point B of my journey and I suspect it will continue to be on paths that curve around mountains with awesome vistas, because I choose to continue this journey with that view in mind, but more importantly I know that I will continue to encounter people of various cultures, who will share with me the beauty of their work, and their own passion in quilting, and that excites me more than anything else. We quilters are a blessed group of people, doing what we love, QUILTING!

Even with all the daily grind of running a business, with all the interruptions by my family, my friend was absolutely correct: I am one blessed Quilter! Thank you for sharing a small part of my journey with me.   

Barbara Douglas


Thank you Barbara for sharing your fascinating journey with us.You are truly blessed and so are we hearing your story.  You have captured the passion that we quilters feel.

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Until next time...


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