Monday, September 30, 2013

Another class done and today's rant

This was a more basic and fairly structured class.  The ladies were enthusiastic, and eager to learn, but also a little apprehensive.   While I was prepared to work steadily through the class outline, I was soon sidetracked when I realized that some of these ladies were almost afraid of their machines.  There was confusion about what the machines were capable of, presser feet were a mystery, there was confusion regarding the difference between various needles. So, while, in the end, the class was completed, it became more of a class on using a sewing machine, than I had expected.

This disturbed me. I can't think of any craft that can be accomplished with any degree of competence without a knowledge of how to use the tools involved.  With that knowledge lacking then the machine controls you, not the other way around. I went to teach fibre collage.When the ladies left, almost every one of them thanked me for helping her understand her machine, and helping her understand what she can and can't expect from it.

They also left with some awesome collages!!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Life goes on

The Free Motion and Machine Quilting class is done--both days. The Janome worked quite well, and now deserves a visit to the shop for a tune-up.  A very enthusiastic group of ladies, but by about 3:00 on both days they were  exhausted.  Somehow, I have to modify the class to make it less stressful, but still teach the basics.  One of the primary goals is to give them the skills, and confidence, to actually design a small piece for themselves.  But, until they have the basic free motion skills, they aren't able to design anything.  Many of the skills can't be written down, but rather, must be demonstrated, which further complicates the problem. Will really have to think this one through.

On the good side, several of them indicated that they would enjoy a class on painting and/or dyeing fabric.  I already have a fairly detailed class prepared, on painting fabric, that could be used to develop a simpler class, that could include the dyeing.

Sunday was a very special day.  I was able to go and pick up the fused glass cabochons that I had commissioned.  They are wonderful!  She had done an excellent job,even making a few more than I had asked for, so that I would have a choice.  Of course, I couldn't make a choice!   I wanted them all! A new price was negotiated, and they are carefully tucked away in the studio, waiting for me to start working them into my next piece.

But that won't come for a few days.  I have two pieces in the works, and have to finish preparing for a two day class over the next weekend.  Once that is out of the way, I can settle down and work on the ideas that keep running through my mind, and interrupting my sleep.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Today was a mixed blessing

Yesterday I was doing some fairly dense thread painting, when the needle "jammed".  This has happened before, and is a bit of a pain to pull everything out and clean up the mess, but then you can usually start again and carry on. Not this time.  There was absolutely no way I could get the needle or anything else out.  In the end I had to cut the needle in half with a pair of side cutting pliers.  Then I was able to pull most of it out.  But something still seemed to be wrong, so took the throat plate out and cleaned up underneath.  Then I noticed that there was chunk out of the bobbin holder and a raw, scraped groove underneath the bobbin holder.  Oh! Oh!  This called for a trip to the repair shop.

This is the machine on which I hope to be able to teach a class in free motion quilting to nine paid up students on Wednesday--yes, Wednesday the day after tomorrow.  I don't want to run this machine again  until someone who knows about these things tells me it's safe. So, what is my contingency plan? Plan to take it into the shop first thing Monday morning hoping that it might be fixed in time for pick up by late Tuesday. And if that doesn't work?  Fire up the old Pfaff.  I've been using it for piecing and bobbin work, but haven't done any FMQ'g on it in about 3 years.  In order to use it for a class, I would need the  table platform which has a broken leg.  Okay, next plan,  find out if we can replace that leg first thing Monday morning.  If that turns out to be necessary, I would have to spend all of Monday and Tuesday re-teaching myself to do FMQ'g on the Pfaff.

Turned out that there was no hope of seeing a technician for the Janome until the weekend, but the table leg was available. ( Two different dealers, you understand) But my husband, who has been servicing, cleaning and repairing my machines for years, thought that we might be able to get the Janome going if we replaced the bobbin holder.  So, new bobbin holder, new table leg, and into the studio to work something out. Tried some free motion on the Pfaff, and remembered why I prefer to do the FMQ'g on the Janome.  Worked at it all day, even took half an hour off and went out to get supper, instead of trying to cook something here.  By 8:00 the Janome was purring away and doing free motion feathers better than ever before.  I am still a nervous wreck, but things are looking better for the class on Wednesday.

Shibori has come up in a couple of communications recently, and someone has asked what I do with my Shibori dyed fabrics.  I may have posted these pictures before, but here are the three Shibori wall hanging that I've made, so far. They are all machine quilted, but the middle one has hand quilting as an embellishment.  I use #16 coton a broder, and dye it with the fabric to assure a match. The first one has leaf prints in three of the clamped circles. They are all about 25 by 35 inches.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

slow progess

We have been very busily involved in selling a vacation home that has been in the family for almost 70 years.  It sold quite quickly and for a good price, but with a closing date of Sept 20th. Now we are having to go through and sort and remove the debris of two extended families over those 70 years.  Considering that the place is almost 120 miles from home, this has been quite a time consuming endeavor.  In the middle of it all, I had a nasty fall in the studio, and have been barely able to walk. Needless to say, studio work has come almost to a stand still.

However, as part of all this, my niece gave me a large tub of beads and beading supplies.  What a treasure trove!  So, while following medical advice to stay off my feet as much as possible, I have been sorting beads.  Great fun!