I'm maybe most excited about this journal right now. The thought of actually having my quilt brain organized is almost too much to conceive.
Above are all three of the current ones stacked together. I've set uno aside, but I'm sure it's going to need revisions as I find additional unfinished projects that fit into this craft era. I like that when I find the fabric scraps/labels/charts/remnants, I'll have space to add them.
Spray painted file folders are really fun to manipulate. They have texture and heft and stand up to a bit of abuse. Just like I like all my crafts. One day I'll come up with a more interesting tie off than a square knot. Problem is, I don't like the feel of beads or dangly things on the binding (even when they look SO cool).
On the inside, I'm just beginning to design pages. Making a quilt can be such a long drawn out process - how much do I want to 'document'?
But mostly I felt like doing some binding. Apparently when I put the numero journals up, I hadn't finished the last bits. Maybe waiting for later inspiration or direction. Now I'm glad I did because I reordered some pages.
Numero dos will be for creative projects in general. Because the wind blows in many directions. I had mostly constructed the journal, and also had some pictures printed already. This was simple 5-hole pamphlet stitch. As it happens I had all the supplies needed. What do you know.
When trying to bind, it happens that the needle can go wayward. This particular journal has thick pages, mostly, so it was harder muscling the needle through. No worries. I just bent the book back and took it a few pages at time.
Then I immediately started filling it up. I will have to dig around a bit for the pertinent information about each project. I keep thinking I'm going to track these things, like yarn type and pattern (in this case), but I don't. Or haven't. Maybe the tide is turning. I figure I'll dig up some of it, and let it go at that.
My natural inclination is to think - whoops, if I didn't start out all organized, it's too late now. But of course that's ridiculous. And my second inclination is to feel like I need to back track. The insanity of that thought makes me giggle, but it's there in my head. Like I would be able to document all past projects. I have to let those silly thoughts go, and I can, once I realize what I have rattling inside my head.
I don't have a lot of good ideas, but this was one of them. I love the journals themselves, and the photos and being able to flip through what I've been doing.
Hope you try out an idea. Let me know if you have a good one.
This is the second quilt I'm currently working on. I'll save the story for another day. It's been in process for a while, and I got a little confused about where I had left off and what I was doing. It shouldn't be that hard to figure out, but I have a little brain.
I didn't think I had started this border, so I picked a pattern, marked it and began with a nice deep gold thread, only to discover a section I'd started with a different pattern in peach. Hmmmm....
So I switched one of the lines to peach, since I hadn't started it yet. It's a little of an odd look, but I can live with it.
There was a quilter, Gwen Marston, who wrote a book, I think it was Liberated Quiltmaking, which really helped me loosen up with my thinking about design and execution. For example, my stitch length is a bit uneven (more so in an earlier section) but ... I'm going with it. I loved her approach which really was liberating since I began with a very structured right/wrong mind-set. Maybe that's why I didn't start sketching for so long, and that's my point. Right gets in the way of fun. I love good technique. I also love play and experimentation.
This was the second project I finished the other evening. It's a cowl/neck warmer. I like a warm neck. It was a fun pattern and this was a fun yarn - I thought they would work well together. Not so much.
It pretty much looks like a hot mess. And it's a bit scratchy. Still, I like the way the stitches look close up.
I just don't want to invite that close an interaction with admirers.
I buy yarn impulsively. I love yarn stores and want to support them all. Buying on line is cheaper, and I have a good friend who gets pretty much all her yarn that way. She makes a boat load of prayer shawls each year and that's the only way she can afford to keep the production going. I love what she does but I also love to support my local shop because I want to be able to touch while I'm shopping.
Problem is I end up with a lot of yarn that I've bought in dribs and drabs. This is a case in point. I actually bought this yarn in New Zealand (10+ years ago!). I bought two different weights but didn't have enough of either to do anything much. Since I've been doing these knit/crocheted shawls it occurred to me that I might be able to combine the yarns, and after a few false starts, I did!
Unfortunately anything this thick is only going to see minimal use in the land of North Carolina - which is why I like it here but still... one wants to show off one's needle work.
Today I finished off the only two knitting projects I had going. I grabbed up my knit bag as I was leaving to take someone to an appointment and now it's empty.
Meanwhile at home I am in a quilting frenzy. It's been too long (say my uncalloused fingertips). However, I can't watch soccer and quilt at the same time (as compared to most of my knitting projects). This cuts into the time I'm willing to sit and 'watch'.
Meanwhile my paints beckon. I stopped while walking at a nearby lake, did a quick sketch and then added color at home. It was AWFUL! The remedy is to do more but instead I am resorting to resorting the supplies in my kit, as if that will improve the quality of the drawing. HA!
My sketching is stiff, my eyes are lazy, my shoulder is bothering me. What's a crafter to do?
Organizing for me is not a straight line process. I spent the energy I had in the fall in big scale organizing projects - quite successfully this time I think. The first line of organizing (I've finally realized) is eliminating, which, let's be honest, is not my strength. I like to wear things out, but I also like novelty and freshness. So part of the fall was arranging for things that I am not using and won't be using to get in the hands of someone (anyone) who might use it. The second line is just identifying what I have. So there has been mounds of sorting (clothes, old toys, crafts, kitchen things, hobbies, bathroom supplies, linens,... the list goes on).
One of the things that happens as I go through things is the bits and scraps that accumulate. I don't know why I hang onto dry cleaner tags or fruit stickers, but I do.
I can't throw away redundant pictures or images I've printed, or toss the stickers from new gifts or purchases.
There is a line between obsessive collecting and hoarding and, let us call it, artistic collage and display. I'm not sure it's a fine line. Maybe more of a grey area. A thick juicy Pentel aquash stroke. I'm standing on that stroke, surveying my domain. It's good to have an envelope journal with you when you are in surveying mode.
So I get to tell the story of some of these quilts. I won't overwhelm you with the lot of them, just dole them out over the year(s).
This quilt began as a project to learn how to appliqué. I got a job in Sweden, right after I was married, and yes, nine months after the wedding I got on a plane and spent the next year in Orebro, Sweden without my hub. My mother-in-law was convinced this did not auger well for the marriage. What she didn't know was we were just idiots. But absence makes the heart...
So before I left, knowing I wouldn't have a sewing machine and being very very into quilting at the time, I decided this was the perfect opportunity to learn more about appliqué. My mother fitted me out with a great book, Appliqué 12 Easy Ways by Elly Sienkiewicz, which was the BEST book I've ever seen about appliqué. I tried every method she suggested. I had brought a misc pile of fabrics and some left over muslin bits. I made a strip of circles first.
And then a strip of leaves (two points) and then two other shapes.
Then I did just various other shapes.
I figured out which method I liked (I use freezer paper when possible as a stabilizer) and just practiced in the evening while I watched Swedish TV (which was actually a fair bit of American, British and Australian. I also hand sewed a cover for a chair that someone had lent me since I'd gotten a kitten who was starting to paw the fabric. DO NOT try to hand sew upholstery fabric. Especially for a big project like, say, a chair cover. I made a fair number of idiot decisions back in the day.
Later, when I was home, I got the idea of combining all the bits into a top, and quilting in colored thread to add another bit of interest without more appliqué.
I think I had this in progress when my father was diagnosed with cancer. That was 18 or 19 years ago. Luckily at some point I had taken the pins out so it doesn't have rust marks, although there are stains so I suspect I did some eating when I first started quilting on it. Who knows. I'm carefree that way.
I love quilting and piecing and appliqué. I love fabric and stitches and patterns.
I have a bit to work on before I have to come up with the quilting pattern for the blank bits. I used to stress about that because I thought there was a right decision I had to suss out. Now I know better. Now there is just what I feel like doing.
Yup, I've been ignoring my blog. I needed to. That's just the way things go sometimes. But while I've been ignoring my blog, I've been busy doing other things.
Some people are good at reflecting on the past year, setting goals, creating priorities. I like the sound of that. Some times I do part of that, but... when it comes to my creative free time I like to flow with impulse. So... In 2014 I did a pretty good job with getting my knitting self organized and settled. I pulled out all my old knitting projects, some of which had been languishing for years, and yes, I actually got them all completed it (or pulled out).
That little person is a nephew. I started this sweater when my son was about two. I made it big so I would have time to finish it before he grew into it. He's eleven now. Lucky for me nephew lives in Colorado. Son never wears a sweater. Never. Hard to get him out of shorts even on a school snow day.
I've been updating my project journal with new pictures. Don't have pictures of the pictures yet... That's the part of my blog that has gotten me bogged down.
But... I have set a goal for myself. I decided to face my quilt problem.
Before I had children (yes, 17 years ago practically) I used to quilt. Then my mother, who was my quilting buddy, got ill, and was ill for a few years before she died. Also my toddler took a pair of scissors to on of my tops. That made the shift to knitting much easier. So I've done a bit here and there, but many of the projects I started have (like my knitting projects) languished in the dark corners of various closets.
This last week I pulled out every last one of them. Or at least, I think I did. I counted two quilts that are actually in the midst of being quilted, plus nine (yes nine) quilt tops completed (but not layered) and four or five with quilt blocks either finished or in process. Plus another mini pile of misc unfinished bits and bobs. Back when I was in a quilt guild, we'd have a workshop, or a block swap. Those puppies are still sitting with sad eyes asking me... when? Which is a good question. Oh, and that doesn't include the unfinished projects from my mother (tops and blocks) OR the four quilts that I bought that need repairing.
I don't have a master plan yet. I believe I'm going to use another of my numero journals to help me organize where I am and how things progress. Finishing a quilt project is quite a different undertaking than finishing, say, a mitten or even a sweater. So I have to stop and consider.
For right now, since I can only operate in the right now, I have pulled out the two quilts that are started. This is one of them.