Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Slow progress

I've not been feeling well the last two or three days.  When I was working I only rarely took sick days.  Those who worked with me said that I was never sick, but sometimes "dragged butt" for a few days.  I think that describes how things have been since the weekend.  Slowly but surely, I have finished the cushions I spoke of in the last post.  It's been a few years since I did anything like that, and my arthritic hands objected to the process quite strenuously.  I have learned to never do anything like that again.  So this means yet another physical skill that has been lost to the aging process.

This also means that I have no further commitments, and can do whatever I want, studio-wise.  As part of pacing the difficult work, I made a set of ATC's for this month's trade.  The theme was "Windows", so I pulled some pictures of stained glass windows off the internet, and made a collage of them.  I'm pleased with how they turned out.

Actually, I do have a commitment.  A class proposal I made to the LQG has been accepted, for next April.  Now we just have to wait and see if anyone signs up.  I have a sample to take to help promote the class, and have the entire class planned out in my mind.  All that needs doing is getting everything down on paper.  

This brings to mind the old saying that " those who can, do, and those who can't, teach".  There are a lot of things I can no longer do, but I can teach.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

A frenzy of activity

But all's quiet now.  I have 22 cards for the craft sale in early Dec.  As well, I'm planning to take all of the stock I have left over from craft sales over the years, and mark it all down, in hopes of getting rid of it.  I'm firmly committed to my goal of not ever doing craft sales again, and this will help with my resolve.  Not sure what might happen if I end up bringing stuff home, though.  I'd rather garbage it than send it to the thrift store.

This means that I now have to get to work on the cushions I have promised to make for a friend.  She had quite firm ideas on how they were to be finished, including supplying the fabric she wished to be used.  She is a high profile needlework designer, and instructor, and these cushions are to be used in promotional activities for her newest designs.  So I know enough to do what I'm told.  I have now cut everything, and further prepared for every step of the process, and should have them finished in a couple of days.

I have recently entered two distinct art exhibits, committing to three pieces.  One of the three is finished, but the other two are just germinating in my mind, at this point.  The theme of this exhibit is "Ice".  I've done a lot of snow and ice inspired pieces over the years, and find the designs of those pieces keep interfering with my thinking.  There is no reason not to take some inspiration from those pieces, but I like to think that my designing abilities have matured a bit.  So I'll keep plugging along for awhile.  One design that immediately sprung to mind on hearing the theme was to take a picture of a well filled glass of B&B brandy, on the rocks, with the bottle beside it, print it on cloth, and add thread painting.  I could title it " My Favourite Kind of Ice".  Still haven't totally rejected that one, Just have to work out the technical details.  Maybe my design sense hasn't matured much as I think.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Another opportunity

When I was wallowing in my frustration at not being able to machine quilt, an opportunity presented itself, in a reminder that the gift shop in Selkirk, was looking for Seasonal items.  The last three days have been spent in producing 15 greeting cards, and three small purses, all using items from my stash.  The only thing I had to buy was a glue stick, when the one from the stash emptied itself.  I used previously painted papers with abstract images using alcohol inks.  I found quite a pile of greeting cards blanks c/w matching envelopes, that had been given to me.  Unfortunately one card suffered from glue in the wrong spot, and wasn't good enough to offer for sale.  But that doesn't mean I can't use it for myself.  And I knew where to find a big plastic tub full of specialty fabrics that worked out quite nicely.  

Now, I figure that, if I can buy more card blanks, I could make a few greeting cards to take to the craft sale I'm committed to in early December, so I would have a few new items.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Emotional ups and downs

Bit of an emotion roller coaster ride the last couple of days.  Excited about getting my machine back, and pleased at getting exactly enough green fabric to bind my leaf piece.  One of the joys at getting the machine back was that it would allow me to work on FMQ'g quilting the hand embroidered antique table cloth that I found at the thrift store.  This is to be a practice piece, prior to working on a very lovely  antique linen, hand embroidered (beautiful combination of cut work and pulled thread work) tablecloth that was given to me by a very special relative, as a wedding gift over 50 years ago. This tablecloth was the reason behind me taking Cindy Needham's Craftsy class not once but twice.  I was also looking for a simple crafty activity that I could demonstrate and display at an upcoming craft show.  Well, I've been working on the practice piece, and have found that it is just too heavy for me to manipulate through the machine.  There are all sorts of ways that a problem like this can be worked with.  I've used most of them, at some point or another, over the years. 

This is a personal physical issue.  I hurt my shoulder in a nasty fall, last June.  It is still causing me a lot of pain, especially with any sort of movement against resistance.  My doctor is not optimistic, as this shoulder was previously broken, again in a fall, and is quite arthritic. ( Don't carry heavy shoulder bags, over long periods.  Just sayin")  So again I'm facing the down side of the aging process.  Another lost function/skill. 

Now, how do I turn this into an opportunity?  I'm not yet sure.  I have to think about it.  I spent yesterday wallowing my frustration, which is just a form of going through the grieving process, but today I have to get on with life.

Thanks for listening.

Friday, October 26, 2018

There are some days when everything goes wrong

The most recent dye bath is an example.  I don't know what went wrong.  My suspicion that the tablecloth fabric was a poor choice.  It was much softer and far more used/worn than the almost pristine napkins.  I used the same dyes, and in just about the same concentration.  The results were nothing like I had expected.

This piece has some promise.  I quite like the colour it turned out, but there is no way I would call this either "Grass Green" or "Spring Green", what I had hoped for.  I'm going to keep it, and, already I have the vision of a project, developing in my mind.

This is somewhat similar, but the edges of the colours much sharper.  ( I think the picture is a little out of focus) I'm not as excited about this one.

There had been a bit of navy and purple in the original dye bath, so I added a little to this one.  At least, I thought I had added a little. Guess I screwed up there.

There was no way any of the above could be used with the beaded leaves.  I only had one of the original napkins left and a small scrap, about 12" square.  I tried again.  The last of the original fabric and the last of my ice.  I didn't put any navy or purple in the dyes.  Success!  I think I might have just enough to add the narrow border to the piece.  The first is the napkin, and, if necessary, I can get a little extra out of the scrap.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018


I had thought that this leaf piece could be bound in the same white cotton as I have between the lines, but looking it against the white  of the flannel on the design wall ( well, it was white a few years ago), I think the binding needs to make a bolder statement.  I'm not a fan of high contrast binding, but this just might be a place for it.  As well, I think that it needs to be just about the same colour as the predominant green in the leaves.  So, for the 4th time, I have a parfait dye bath set up, and I'm dyeing more cotton damask.  I don't have a lot of control over what the result will be, so here's hoping.

The cotton damask  I've used came originally from a two sets of napkins that I acquired, but they're gone. So I'm now into the table cloth.  That was bought a the local thrift store, and it looks like I'll have to go back there, if I ever want to dye the fabric again.  I love the way the weave of the fabric seems to glow, after dyeing.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

For those who have wondered....

I had several responses to my query about the best layout for the leaves on the piece I'm currently making. The suggestions were about evenly distributed, among a few friends who e-mailed me privately, and those who commented on the blog.  One person, who knows my work well, said that she had trouble choosing, knowing that I would be adding other embellishment. Well, gosh, hadn't planned on that, but now that you mention it......   Giving the suggestion some thought, I realized that in all of the options, the leaves needed to be grounded, in some way.  I prepared a wrapped cord, using #8 perle cotton in the four colours that were used in the dyeing process,  and added them in simple straight lines.  The leaves were then sewn on, but the binding not yet done.  I'm happy.  There are also extra leaves that will be saved for another project.

I plan to link this with The Needle and Thread Network,  and Nina-Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Friday.