46 Days Left: Start Your Engines

Kim Kight's Dioramarama.com and Trueup.net provide inspiration

46 Days Left: Start Your Engines

I was reassured, when in a Herculean feat of back-burner recall, last year's gift-list resolution sprang to mind at least a month early. Maybe you have the same one. With 364 days left for Research & Development, we will lavish handmade inspiration on friends and fam next Christmas, blushing and demure as they ooh and ahh. Unfortunately, this spark in the pre-frontal cortex is also symptomatic of the onset of holiday fever, after the pre-Thanksgiving facial tics have already set in. But apparently not this year. While there is still time to squeeze in some objective thought on the subject, if you're like me, your dormant imagination could use a jump.

Everyone knows how inspiring raw materials can be, and none more so than fabric. Kim Kight's sewing gets my heart started at Trueup.net and Dioramarama.com, blogs with groovy pictures, tasty links by the yard, and conversational, unfussy posts. Kight, a writer, speech-language pathologist, and ardent fabric collector, started Dioramarama four years ago and it seems to have grown from a personal blog into a gathering place and resource, particularly for quilters. A recent post takes us along for a longarm quilting lesson at local Duck Soup Quilts using fabric Kight hand-dyed at home. The resulting photos make me want to book longarm rental, like today, and I've never quilted in my life.

The same goes for the Modern Quilt Along, a group project inspired by and made from patterns out of the book The Modern Quilt Workshop by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr (Quarry Books, 128 pp., $21.99), which has grown from a handful of participants a few years ago into a village of quilters, whose progress can be seen on Flickr. Another post is like visiting with a neighbor, Kight's dismay at the ill-fitting factory cover on her new ironing board resulting in a snazzy replacement fashioned from an Urban Outfitters tapestry (gift alarm rings here). I'm now preoccupied, pursed lips, finger to chin, looking around my mindlessly imperfect surroundings. I'll have to explore those links later, especially the Guide to Austin Fabric Stores when I'm slamming lists together.

"True up" is not urban slang. Often used in builder parlance, it generally means to put perfectly in order, in preparation for construction. In the more colorful world of sewing, it means to put fabric "on grain" in preparation for cutting, with yarns intersecting at a 90 degree angle. This is often done with the pull of a strategic thread, and a well-placed rip. "True Up" is now also defined as a terrific "all-fabric-all-the-time" blog that lives up to its billing. You wanna talk about fabric? How long have you got? Kight's interviews are strong, since as a journalist she knows which questions to ask. See her post with Kimberly Niesz of Niesz Vintage Fabric & Design. We take another field trip to Quilt Market 2008 as she accompanies Bee Square Fabrics on a trip to the Moda Fabrics festival headquarters to buy inventory. Whether you are in the fabric business or not, these are fascinating insights (and vocabulary builders). I've really just scratched the surface. Today's local sale-alert post sure looks like the tireless Kight may not simply be in the loop, she may be the loop.

These are the kind of sites that exemplify the term "portal." They open up other worlds and provide dreamy new resources and contacts. Seriously, put aside the time to explore the myriad links, and you'll be planning holiday projects instead of getting uptight over some turkey.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Dioramarama.com, Trueup.net, Kim Kight, Dioramarama, True Up, Moda, Bee Squared Fabrics, Niesz Vintage Fabric & Design, Duck Soup Quilts, Modern Quilt Along, longarm quilting, Quilt Market 2008

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