Peace and Quiet in the Midst of a Storm

October 7th, 2013
A cyclone has hit my sewing room!  This is the current state of my sewing room, with stuff everywhere.   There’s a lot of color in here, but also loads of crap and downright MESS!  
This room has been a mess for awhile and now is barely useable.   All kinds of stuff has  been moved in here so work can happen just outside the sewing room.  We have really  neglected our home in NC.  Ernie and I  have been so focused on creating stuff in our respective workshops when we’re in NC that we’ve just let too much time pass without things like repainting, normal renovations, etc.  The past few months, we’ve been playing catch up and we’re in the midst of 2 weeks of utter chaos inside the house.  For the last 7 days, we’ve been having many sets of sliding glass doors replaced upstairs.   That project finally ended yesterday (Sunday) at 5 pm.  We love our new doors and are glad that part of the renovation has passed.  This week, we’re into painting most of the ground floor, which is a walk out basement level.  This has meant 2 days of moving most everything into my sewing room from a  guest bedroom that neighbors my sewing room.  It has also meant moving loads of stuff out of Ernie’s workshop (also a neighbor of my sewing room) into the garage.  We have moved so much stuff that neither of us is really sure where anything is at this point, so we’re both a bit on edge.  The upside of this is it forces one to really purge and we were able to unload a lot of stuff yesterday on Freecycle.   You can tell from the photos that there are many, many loads more to go!  If you live in western NC and are looking for sewing/quilting/crafting related stuff, sign up for Asheville Freecycle because in the next couple months, I am intending to post a lot more stuff to give away.  But, I’m losing my focus here.  By 5:30 yesterday, I was physically exhausted and emotionally kind of fried, so I sat down to just free motion quilt for awhile just to get my head mellow.  If I don’t get to quilt  a little most days, I feel like I’m “off,” and when I’m stressed, free motion quilting tends to soothe me.  I draw out designs on scratch paper and keep them by my machine so I can play with them when I have the time or feel the need to just quilt.  Here’s an example of what I mean:
This first design will look “old” to you but it’s actually different than the curvaceous seashell design I’ve done for many years.  This one has much more flowing movement to it and I am head over heels in love with it:
If you look at this close up, you’ll see that instead of stitching a series of “droplet” shapes that echo one another like in the seashells version, this one is different:
Here’s  a drawing that shows how to do it.  I’ve changed color each time I changed direction to stitch a new section:
You start with the magenta, then swap directions at blue, then change direction again at orange.  Take care to elongate the line as you leave the seashell; this kind of thing will add to the sense of movement once you’ve got an expanse of this quilted out. The lavender line is the beginning of a new seashell, but you don’t have to do it in that direction.  There’s a lot of room for play with this design and it’s one of those designs that feels really good physically, as well as emotionally, to quilt.  Try it for yourself and you’ll see what I mean…I call this dancing with your quilt and your sewing machine!
Here’s a version of it where I also threw in some random shapes along with the seashell shapes:
Now in a totally different design, here’s a slight variation on the original “plumify it” design:
How’s this different from the original plumify it?  It’s different because I echo outlined each unit more times and also used soft curves in my outline echos instead of points each time I outlined a new plume.  I think this lends the design a  bit more flowing movement.  This tangential shot really shows off that wonderful texture:
Now back to moving stuff around some more and packing up donations!
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This and That

October 1st, 2013

I haven’t meant to not be blogging; it’s just that most of what I’ve been spending time on isn’t worth talking about or isn’t picture-worthy and what good is a post if there are no pictures?  I feel like I need to get a  post out, though,  so here is a knitting tote bag I made a couple weeks ago:


That color is really off in the photo.  Here’s a closeup that’s a little closer to reality.  It shows one of the sections that was done with ruler work:


This closeup shows the machine embroidery a little better:


I played around a little with the interior pockets and made some small pockets for knitting needles on one side.  The other side has 3 large pockets for “normal stuff:”


This was the first time I’d worked with sewn-in wooden handles and I kind of like that it’s a different look.  Ernie is playing around with making some other wooden handles, so the next one may be a little more interesting…stay tuned!

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