The Mary Fons Vlog … It’s Alive!

posted in: Confessions, Social Media, Work 14
Look at that vlogger … She’s so entertaining! Photo: Me + My Computer


Hi, gang.

I thought I’d mention that I’ve begun making goofy videos for the internet. I mean, they’re all chock full of fascinating facts and figures (well, at least a figure here and there for good measure) and they’re full of me, which, depending on how you feel about me, could be a terrific thing or a reason not to watch the content. Personally, it is hard for me to watch the content, but that’s because after all these years of creating on-camera vignettes for this or that purpose, I am still amazed that that is my face and that is my voice. But it is, and it is, and we now have more proof that I’m a moth to the silicon flame.

I’ve only just begun my own YouTube channel. Here is the link to the official Mary Fons YouTube channel. What follows is the “how it works” part — and the reasoning behind this project. I had to do some!

If you’re not familiar with YouTube channels — Eric was introduced only this year after I showed him — it’s pretty simple and can be a nice thing when you have interest in a person or a show on YouTube. You click on the channel (a little icon under the video screen, above the rest of the video thumbnails the channel has produced) and you click “Subscribe”. This means that when you open YouTube on your computer or device, you’ll probably see your subscription videos first in the lineup of suggested videos. If the person or show you’ve subscribed to has posted a new video, you’ll see that. (This is how my YouTube works, anyway; I hope I haven’t led you astray, though however you click it, the learning curve is tiny.)

There’s also a little bell that you can click, which means you’ll get a notification every time I upload a new video. If you like my content enough to want to get a notification the moment I post new videos, that means you really, really like me. Full disclosure: I do not have notifications set for any of my YouTube descriptions. I am allergic to alerts. They are distracting and there are just so many of them. Still, some people have told me that the Quilty videos I made for many years and the PBS show are often nice background audio for them as they work or fall asleep (I take this as a compliment) so if you’re under a deadline or you’re needing a nap, maybe you do want to know right away that I’ve posted something for you. That bell is the way.

I have come to learn that subscribers and bells — and “engagement”, which means comments and watching through to the end of a video, no pressure — are important for growing a YouTube channel, so I’m hoping to have some of all that. Perhaps you will tell your friends, neighbors, and countrymen and women that the best thing going on the internet is this scrappy 41-year-old quilt person’s YouTube channel. I have to try to get the word out somehow: It’s hard to accept that so many D-list celebrity gossip channels and channels featuring people playing blurry vintage video games, and people vlogging about absolutely nothing as they drive their car (this is all actual content) have subscriber numbers in the six digits when my channel is so tiny.

But all those folks started somewhere, right? For every popular YouTube channel, there was a first video game; a first “well, here I am in my car again,” vlog episode; a first makeup tutorial; a first mukbang … Mukbangs, by the way, are videos where people eat on camera. Like, they eat dinner, or lunch, or breakfast, and talk to you.

The internet — YouTube in particular — is a strange world, indeed. I have entered the YouTube because it’s a pandemic and it won’t be over for a very long time, I’m afraid, and I am having fun doing something new. I’ve entered it because I’m making a documentary and I need to prove to the suits that people want to watch me talk about quilts (and sometimes myself) on camera, but without doing tutorials, because I’ve done a lot of that and there’s so, so much of that already on YouTube. I’ve decided to make a channel because it’s still 2020 and all bets are off.

I hope you head over there and do the subscribe, like, watch, share thing. I’d appreciate it, and may the gods of YouTube be with us all. They can’t be all bad: Have you seen the puppy videos??

Bolt From The Blue, Part I: Patchwork Therapy.

posted in: Quilting 16
In process. Patchwork and photo: Me.
In process. Patchwork and photo: Me.


There was a moment today when I thought, “Fons, you’re toast. As in crispy. As in burnt. Out.”

There’s just so very, very much to do. There’s the newspaper and the writing tutoring the university pays me to do. There’s the heavy coursework I manage as a student and the lectures and classes I lead as a teacher (the latter implies travel 90% of the time, of course.) There is home maintenance to attend to and there are bills to pay. It’s tax time. Most importantly,  there are relationships to care for: friends, family. Other friends. And that’s all stuff going on right now, which is to say nothing of projects and dreams in the pipeline, all of which contributes to the constant hustle, which leads you to the overwhelming question: “What comes after this?” As a freelancer, you have to constantly ask.

For the first time in many weeks, I slept in today. I awoke, to my astonishment, at 10:30 a.m. and had two emotions at once: joy, because I knew my body was thrilled; and mild panic, because the morning was already gone and I had done nothing.

I made tea like I normally do because that is Always The Very First Thing No Matter What. As the kettle heated, I stared at the wall — specifically, my design wall.

Last night, once my work was done for the day, I made a few star blocks just for fun. I have needed for a while to look at something different up on that wall and I have yards and yards of this wonderful electric blue Moda solid in my stash that has been pleading with me to use it. The block I made, a Sawtooth Star, is something I can make in my sleep at this point; I didn’t even have to look up the measurements. After I had four blocks or so, I stuck them up on the felt wall and went to bed.

After my pot of tea this morning, I tried to read. I tried to write. I couldn’t focus. It was nearly half past 11 by the time I had been tea’ed and I felt sullen and agitated — a highly unpleasant mix that I attribute to being overextended. This was my first “day off” in weeks but it didn’t mean I didn’t have a thousand things to do. All it meant was that I was home and could stay put. I didn’t have press to go to for the newspaper; I wasn’t at a conference as an attendee or a presenter; I didn’t have a date with a friend or gentleman caller. I was free, and theoretically, that should have been good but I didn’t like how shiftless I felt, how unscheduled I was. Sitting still is not easy for me and though I need some downtime, I’m so not used to having any, I was spiraling into a real funk. Before I got too jumpy about it, I went to the sewing table and picked up my stars.

There was still a good amount of staring into space that happened once I got there. But what began to happen in time was rather remarkable: A quilt that I absolutely love began to form with astonishing speed, right before my eyes. And everything felt better.

The star block, when set on point, goes a long way in making a quilt top come together quickly. When I cut setting pieces for my 8″ finished blocks I remembered how awesome it is work that way. I was making serious tracks on this sucker! The row-style I was interested in playing with zoomed into fabulousness when I did a reverse contrast thing with the navy blue next to the electric blue. When I did that, I literally clapped my hands. What can I say? I love this quilt.

I looked up the word “surprise” in the thesaurus because I really was surprised by this day and by this quilt and I wanted to find a name for it that reflected that. (Naming quilts is one of my favorite things in the world because: words + quilts.) The phrase “bolt from the blue” is listed in the entry for “surprise” and I think that’s pretty accurate, don’t you? This quilt came out of the blue — and it’s, you know, blue. And fabric comes on bolts. I probably don’t need to keep explaining.

Tomorrow, part two of this post. And a contest. Because the other thing that came out of this quilt was a dream of you. Yes, you!