Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Time flies, again...

It's been a rough few weeks over here. Trips to the animal emergency room (mysteriously all better now), trips to see family out of state, dealing with loss and grief-- and through it all, my first choice for processing everything, aside from talking things over with my dearest, is working with fabric.

I've been sketching a bit, though for me sketching to start work on new pieces can be tricky... so much of how I think and visualize is, well, less than concrete. The images are more like the blendy backgrounds and bases of scenic art than the defined lines of cut fabric, and it can be difficult to translate back and forth between them. I still wonder how different it would be to work on a backdrop now, with my glasses, able to see lines and shapes in much finer detail than I could a few years ago... someday I hope to find out. I really miss painting and the trance-like state my mind shifted to when I could sink into a project.
I guess learning to play with art-journaling ought to be a goal, teaching myself to use watercolors or at least colored pencils while I'm sketching, but that seems too... complex? If I'm going to haul out a bunch of supplies, I'd rather be doing something more than sketching. On the other hand, it might prompt me to do more work.

I've been leaning towards a one-to-one target for the studio anyway. One for me, one for X. For every shop sample or baby quilt or family gift, I can turn my attention back to artwork. For every finished art piece, I need to cross another "regular item" off the list. Considering the insane number of people I know having babies right now, this could be extremely productive.

The first quilt is off the frame and at it's new home-- forgot to get a picture once everything had been nicely clipped and tidied, but that can come later. And it's potentially a new record for me, getting the binding onto the quilt less than 24 hours after finishing the quilting. The next sample is on the frame and is currently a bit over half done, big meandered feathers this time. I'll get some photos posted once I remember where I put the camera.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Playing with some new ideas

...and trying to figure out what works. A while back I'd picked up some canvases from AC Moore (craft supplies... think Michael's, or Hobby Lobby) with half-formed thoughts of mounting pieces on them. {Still in sketch phase... I should know better than to try to take a bite out of fruit mentally, so that'll need some reworking. Or maybe un-fusing, if I can manage it.}
Instead of mounting the pieces on them directly, though, I threw a little paint on some and have been chopping up fused fabrics again. I'm torn about whether I like the feel of "composing" on the canvas, which means I'll either have to forego any stitching or do it by hand **shudder**, or if I want to set it onto some sort of loose background (as these pears are) which can still go under the machine.... to be attached in some fashion later.

Maybe with glue.
Maybe thread.
But that would involve more hand stitching.
Don't get me wrong... handwork is lovely. I'm just impatient. And indecisive. Using the machine forces me to make choices quickly, and that's a good thing for me.

On this one, I used thinned Sobo glue and stuck those suckers straight to canvas... and now am playing with arranging the pieces of branch. I've seen people put fabric & painted canvas together and seal the whole thing, with laquer or shellac maybe... but I'm not sure I want to go that route. Seeing the individual threads might get lost then.

one layout for branches...

and another layout...

And then there's this guy, back to (nearly) the front again-- originally painted the piece of background fabric before the wedding, in a misguided but well-intentioned thought that I might be able to get the whole thing assembled and bring it to Chicago for the parents. Not that it would have fit in the car with everything else we had crammed in there.

Still in progress.... there's more detailed shots of how all the little pieces fit together if you go back several posts to the bit where I was working on the big willow last year.

But first! Need to finish off a few somewhat more utilitarian things to be sent off to their new homes...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Moving on from practice...

So I like testing things out first... and though you can drive endlessly around the parking lot, practicing stops and starts and doing donuts, eventually you need to move onto the street, where there are lines to follow and cross traffic.
So to speak.

I selected a few blocks from my EQ Block Book-- mostly just classic/simple stuff-- and a sharpie, and drew them out on my scrap muslin.

It gave me something to work with, both to practice "coloring within the lines" and to see how changing a stitch design within a block can make it look.... different. Or more interesting.
And when I finally got over my fear of winding an actual project on for the first time, it went pretty smoothly. Took forever, yes, but mostly because I was worried I'd get it all pinned onto the leaders and wound up, only to discover I'd put it on upside down.

So here it is, the first one:
With the cloth leaders visible at the top edge, there. I debated about getting these. For about 2 seconds. And while I'd been thinking it would mostly be helpful for being less stretchy-- they're made of material that's closer to the weight of cotton duck, rather than muslin-- having those marks helps you make sure you're not stretching or squishing the top when getting it pinned on. My sister's friend has zipper leaders for her machines, and the thought of sewing zippers onto these has already crossed my mind. We'll see how the first few go.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New camera should be here at the end of the week! I hadn't realized how much I enjoy getting a few snapshots of things... whatever did we do before digital cameras allowed us to take a million shots of something, looking for that one right photo?

Tonight is Stitch 'n Pitch, when we'll be headed to the Asheville Tourists (minor league baseball) game. The idea is that you bring some stitchy handwork to do during the game-- knit, crochet, work on that binding... but it's also 60% chance of thunderstorms, and with the way it's been raining lately, I'm fully expecting to get soaked.

So what to bring?
I've considered taking a small piece that needs binding (and has needed it since about 2005) but it's sort of become the joke, now, and I don't know that I can bear to break the un-bound streak. Plus I keep thinking I'll put it into a bigger project.
Whatever it is, a ziploc bag will have to be involved...

Monday, May 31, 2010

A fully operational Death Star...

So it's home, and set up, only a few minor scrapes and bruises...

For the immediate future, I'll just be driving it around on this sample piece, getting a handle on shapes and playing with different thread types. And contemplating how I want everything else set up in the room-- the frame takes up about 1/3 of the room, and the desk/countertop space another 1/3, so storage for things like batting and supplies will have to be very...efficient.

Looking forward to jumping onto some of the tops that have stacked up, and to trying out some fun stuff.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wha happened???

Okay, so I lost the month of May.

And the rest of the year.

What happened? Well, I was in preparations for my wedding, and didn't want to yak about that on the blog... and then it sort of petered out. In the same way that ceasing creative activity of any sort makes it a little harder to get moving again, I kept thinking I'd wait until I had something really interesting to say.

So here's what's interesting: very very soon, hopefully at the end of this week, I'll be bringing home the new machine-baby. No photos yet, as our camera died in the middle of my brother's wedding, and the computer with all the useful programs on it died shortly after our return from said wedding, but I'll get there. HUZZAH! NEW MACHINE!
This officially brings the collection to 5, though one will probably never work and one I have no intention of running, since it's just pretty.
Bear with me as I get rolling again....