Saturday, April 08, 2006

Meeting an old friend for the first time

Have you ever had the experience of meeting someone that you feel like you know, but you've never met them in person? It's oddly disconcerting and very fun. I used to have a job where I talked to certain people on the phone almost daily, and we developed very friendly relationships over the phone. It wasn't until I was leaving the position that my co-workers threw a party and invited everyone I'd been talking to, and it was weird but very nice to finally meet everyone face to face. (I hadn't pictured anyone at all the way they actually looked.)

Well, I had a similar experience while I was at the Bishop's Ranch retreat. I've talked a few times about Annie Smith's podcast "Quilting Stash," and how much I've been enjoying listening to the current and past podcasts. Because I only discovered them a while ago, even though the podcast is actually a year old (Hey! Its official anniversary is tomorrow, April 9!), I've been listening to archived podcasts from the past as I've sewn or puttered around in my office. Annie's podcasts are so congenial and chatty that I've come to feel as if I know her. We emailed back and forth a bit, and Annie even did a podcast about "How to be a good teacher" (go to Podcast #42) based on an email I'd sent her listing my pet peeves of things teachers do but, in my view, shouldn't.

[By the way, you do not need an Ipod or MP3 player to listen to these podcasts. Simply go to the link above, click on the particular podcast you want, and then WAIT a bit while it streams to your computer. It's best to click on the link and then do something else in the room for 5 minutes. It really does take a while to load, and I've talked to several people who -- like me, the first time -- clicked it off without hearing anything thinking it wouldn't work on my computer. In reality, I didn't give it enough loading time. So, just occupy yourself for a bit looking at a bookk or petting your fabric, and then you'll hear Annie's voice. If you do have an MP3 player, you can subscribe to the podcasts through Itunes or through Annie's site to download each new edition and listen to it on the run.]

So, I was delighted when Annie took me up on my invitation to visit Bishop's Ranch during the retreat. Last tuesday Annie braved a pretty constant rainstorm and arrived at the ranch at about 3:00 in the afternoon. She was friendly and smiley and she seemed right at home with a house full of quilters! Annie met everyone and got to see and talk about everyone's projects... It's pretty easy to get quilters to talk about their projects, don't you find?! What was especially fun was that Annie brought her recording equipment and spent several hours interviewing some of the retreat participants, including yours truly. So, within the next week or two, you should find interviews with various "ranch hand" quilters up on Annie's site. I babbled on about the Artful Quilters Blog Ring, so it'll be interesting to see if we see a sudden jump in blog readership after those are posted!

Annie joined us for dinner and a lot more quilty chatter. The nicest discovery was that, indirectly, Annie started quilting because of my friend Janet Shore! Many years ago, Janet and a few others put on a quilting symposium in the Berkeley area where they sponsored talks and classes by quilt artists and teachers such as Michael James and Nancy Crow. Apparently Annie's sister went to the symposium and came home raving so enthusiastically about quilting that Annie decided to give it a try! That's how she got into quilting! She was delighted to meet Janet and you'll find a podcast interview with Janet coming up on Quilting Stash soon, too.

With all of the excitement, I didn't think to get a camera out and take a picture of her. Duh. I was having too much fun talking.

I'm eager to hear Annie's description of the experience. I"m not sure whether I'll be able to listen to my own interview, but it'll be so fun to hear what the others had to say!

It's an amazing thing, how we're able to make friends through blogs and websites and podcasts.


  1. Having just finished teaching my very first workshop on Friday, I found your list to be a very useful cross-check as I reviewed how the day went. I found that I had addressed each of your concerns in a postive way - phew! And I had nine models students too. We had a fun day.

  2. Hi Diane,

    I live in Santa ROsa and go to Scottish Dance retreats at Bishops's should hear a bagpipe played in the chapel!

    I have been meaning to go to the SR quilt Guild for ages...listening to the poscast with Annie got me to pencil in the dates. I will b eout of town for the April 20th meeting but hope to se you at teh May meetings. I am new to the blogosphere. How do you get so many photos to post?

  3. went to Annie's podcast site and listened to part of her interview with you....what fun!!!...and congrats on your "school auction quilt", even though they use it for picnics! Thanks for introducint me to Annie's site...that will give me company as I piece.