100 Details in 100 Days with Sharon B.

Allison Aller 2007

   
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From June until September of 2006, there was a whole lot of stitching going on in the crazy quilt blogging community. On her blog, once a day for one hundred consecutive days, Sharon Boggon posted a photograph of a different detail from her own extensive body of work in crazy quilting. Not only was this great eye candy every day, but Sharon listed the stitches and threads used for each Detail, with links to her online stitch dictionary.

Before long, stitchers from all over the world were not only avidly following the series, but joining in as well, interpreting the seam treatments and motifs displayed by Sharon and posting these on their own blogs and Flickr pages. Soon Sharon was providing links to others' work with the Details on her blog as well. CQ bloggers and blog readers from around the world were soon zipping all over the web in a great interactive community of stitching.

I personally greatly enjoyed this series, and found it a perfect challenge to help inspire work-in-progress on a current crazy quilt I was making. Lots of experienced people joined in, but others took up crazy quilting for the first time, posting beautiful efforts along the way, as they too became swept up in enthusiasm for the Details.

Now that the series has concluded, CQMagOnline wanted to hear Sharon's thoughts about the whole experience.

AA: Sharon, what inspired you to create this series?

SB: I am not sure inspired is the right word. I was feeling a little stale writing my blog everyday. I have found that if I am a little stale with something rather than dropping it and letting something languish if I put more effort into it I become reinvigorated. This applies to lots of areas in my life and I decided to apply it to my blog. I thought of highlighting the details in order to pep myself up and hoped that other people would enjoy it.

AA: Was the tremendous response to it a surprise to you?

SB: Yes I was totally amazed and the response that I received lifted me tremendously. I went from why do I write this every day to bounding around the house with a silly grin on my face within hours.

AA: How did posting the 100 Details affect your own work as a crazy quilter? As a blogger?

SB: As a blogger it enthused me. I have been writing the blog for a long time now. Writing daily can become a burden and if I am not careful it can become stale so the details series helped me - not so much in writing about the details themselves but the response to them really gave me a lift. As a crazy quilter I realized how much I had fallen into a pattern. As I sorted the images I spotted many repeating 'tricks'. It acted like a bit of review, so now I am more aware of what I turn to when I feel a bit lazy I can push myself in different directions.

AA: What role do you see blogs playing in the advancement of crazy quilting?

SB: I see blogs as a public publication online that search engines pick up easily. This means that anyone who is a new hand is likely to stumble across them when they search under terms like "crazy quilt". Blogs quickly expose them to the fact that there is a diverse community of crazy quilters out there, online, doing it and having fun! If they read the blogs they quickly realize that they are linked up literally via things like web rings but also, since readers leave comments on one another's blogs they all know one another. As they write crazy quilters who blog mention challenges, round robbins and discussion lists frequently so an outsider new to crazy quilting gets a sense of activity and hopefully wants to join in, learn more about crazy quilting and try it.

The other thing many bloggers do, is to constantly explain how they did things or how they solved creative problems. They either put up tutorials on their blog or simply discuss the process. This sharing of knowledge allows new hands to see how it is done. This of course is already done on discussion lists but people have to be aware that the discussion list exists and join. They are little pockets of the net that are behind doors. Nothing wrong with being behind doors as that is what keeps spammers etc at bay, but people new to crazy quilting may not know about the lists so they are excluded. Blogs on the other hand, are out there, search engines index them and people find them. I don't see them as replacing discussion lists, but as another form of media that is available to the community to use. I see them as acting as an introduction to the community and the activity. This is healthy because it 'grows' the community. I want to see crazy quilting alive and well and I see blogs spreading the word in a grass roots manner.

One of the interesting aspects of the series for me was that people totally new to crazy quilting tried it out. This is a wonderful thrill as I intuitively feel these people would not have necessarily done so had they not seen what was going on not only on my blog but on the blogs of everyone else who joined in. It is in seeing the activity, the process and the crazy quilting and an energetic community that attracts new people.

AA: How can people see the Details now that the series is completed?

SB: The series was categorized in my blog under the title 100 Details in 100 Days.

If you go there you can see them. Like all blogs the posts will display the most recent post first. Obviously the most recent post is the last in the series so the series runs backwards. At the base of the page is a 'click next' link which enables you to follow the trail backwards and enjoy them all. I did have someone ask to put them all on one page but I am afraid that since there would be 100 images to load even those on the fastest connections would have trouble loading the page.

AA: Do you have another series in mind for the future?

SB: (Laughing:) I am never quite sure what is going to pop into my head! If I think of something that feels as if it might work I will run another series but I am going to run the Take a Stitch Tuesdays challenge which I have hunch will keep me and others busy. This challenge will be a weekly event. Each week I am going to work a stitch and experiment with it, and blog the results. The idea is that people explore that stitch in their own way. Exploration and interpretation of stitches and how they might be used is the aim of this challenge so people can stitch on anything you choose, anyway you choose. It can be on a sampler, crazy quilt blocks, a fabric postcard, a fabric book or samples for folder of stitches. Colour, format, how much exploration is done is up to each individual. Commitment to this challenge is flexible. Anyone can join at any time. People can join in and stitch as their life dictates. Each week I will link to bloggers and flickr sites who have participated which means readers can travel the sites to see what everyone has done.

AA: What was your favorite aspect of the 100 Details in 100 Days experience?

SB: On a personal level without a doubt the fact that new hands joined in. This gave me a heck of thrill. The other key plus for me was the feedback I had via comments. I can 't stress how important comments are to anyone who writes a blog. Comments give you feedback on what people think. I have a counter on my blog that tells me people are landing on the page but without a comment I have no idea if people are reading, enjoying or simply thinking 'not her again!' and clicking away. The feedback would have to be the best and most invigorating aspect of the series for me as an individual and new faces on the scene being the best for the community.

It was sometimes fun to literally interpret Sharon's details, as you can see by comparing Sharon's Detail 12 with mine.

Other times Sharon's details inspired me, while allowing me adapt them to my own needs on my block. You can see this in the two Detail 20 interpretations.

Debra Spincic, of the blog http://debraspincicdesignstudio.blogspot.com/ , is a long time sane quilter, but the 100 Details inspired her to explore crazy quilting in her own fresh and vibrant way. 
Barbara Curiel, of the blog http://xicanartista.blogspot.com/ , has also done sane quilting for years. Her approach to the 100 Details was to complete this soulful wool crazy quilt wall-hanging.  

Both of these quilters plan on furthering their involvement with CQ!

Resources:

Sharon Boggon's blog and
stitch dictionary

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