Always in Stitches

Location: Algonquin, Illinois, United States

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Derby Day ‘07

I just love the first Saturday in May! Kentucky Derby Day! And this year promises to be quite the event: A little ceremony in the winner’s circle between the 6th and 7th races to honor last years ill-fated winner, Barbaro, the Queen in attendance along with all the other celebrities, all the ladies in the requisite grand hat, and of course the horses. All I need now is my Mint Julep.

Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people. —W. C. Fields

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Spring Fever

With the change of the season here it has become increasingly difficult to stay inside. This sort of weather just begs for a road trip. So my friend Judy and I set out. Destination: Judy’s Quilt and Sew in Hampshire, IL. Now I have to admit that I have known about the existence of this shop for several years, but somehow I have just never managed to get out there. I guess that is the danger when you have so many quilt shop within easy driving distance… you tend to overlook a few.

Any way, Judy’s Quilt and Sew is a really cute shop and I managed to get into some trouble there. You see about a year or so ago I was over at Michael’s and as I was digging through one of the sales bins I found some outrageous trims for about a buck each. I bought them without a clue as to what I might ever do with them, brought them home where they sat in a dark corner.

They came back to haunt me at the quilt shop, whispering in my ear that they wanted some new friends to play with. Oh the guilt! How could I have let them languish for so long in the dark so alone. At least I could buy them some new playmates to hang out with. So here is a part of my purchase.

And here are the new friends. Don’t they play so nicely with one another?

My friend Judy of course made a very sensible purchase. On a beautiful spring day with the temperature near 80, she bought mounds of flannel.

A little Madness in the Spring Is wholesome even for the King.—Emily Dickinson

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Void

Spring has returned to the greater Chicagoland area and with it my creative energy. In my last post I talked about being back from the void, in some ways that was truer than you could know. In reality I had been working on and in a black hole. In the past I have not cared for those times when I can’t make anything, but I am learning that it is part of the process, and the energy will return, just as spring follows winter.

There are times that I like to paint fabric to get an effect that I know that I cannot achieve with commercial fabrics. I thought that it might be fun to show you the process I take to get those results. The issue with painting fabric is that when I am done I do not want it to be stiff so I work in layers adding paint, heat setting it, and adding more paint until I reach saturation that I am happy with.

So step 1 is to lay it all out on the basement floor.

Next I wet the fabric and also thin my paint with water. I use acrylics.

Pass one is done. The paint looks fairly dark in this photo because it is still wet. As the paint dries it tends to lighten significantly.

The finished base fabric. This represents about 6 or 8 applications of paint.

Normally I only do 3 or 4 applications, but because of the intensity of the colors that I wanted for this piece I ended up doing more. The other point of note is that I only used three paint colors in this piece. Because of the layering I can control the saturation and get a wider range of values.

If you have something to say, then say it. If not, enjoy the silence while it lasts. The noise will return soon enough. In the meantime, you’re better off going out into the big, wide world, having some adventures and refilling your well. Trying to create when you don’t feel like it is like making conversation for the sake of making conversation. —Hugh McLeod

Thursday, April 19, 2007

More Good News

Yesterday in my mailbox I got some more good news. Yep that’s right Ami has managed to get out another article about the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative. This one is in the current (Summer 2007) issue of American Quilter, which is published by AQS. The article is very well written and features pictures of five quilts from the exhibit. One of the featured quits happens to be mine. Ok I will admit that I am just a bit over the moon that out of all the touching and meaningful quilts in the exhibit they decided to include mine in the article.

If you are out and about be sure to pick up a copy and please, please, please, consider heading over to Ami’s site see how you might be able to help raise funds for Alzheimer’s research.

Those whom we support hold us up in life. —Marie Ebner von Eschenbach

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Back From the Void

Yes I admit that I have seemingly gone missing of late. The demands of life have a way of intruding on art. So Ami’s email announcing that there will be a book produced for the Alzheimer’s: Forgetting Piece by Piece exhibit was just the kick in the pants that I have been needing to get back. She has graciously sent a copy of the cover of the book, which is due out in June.

So I want to encourage all of you to surf on over to Ami’s web site and purchase the book. So far this project has raised $58,680.60 for Alzheimer’s research. While this is phenomenal, I really want to see that total skyrocket in the coming months. To that end I have a little goal that I am setting for myself that I will be revealing in the next few weeks. So stay tuned.

I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it. —Mae West

Friday, March 02, 2007

Moving Along

I can see progress this week, and it is a truly wonderful feeling. I am starting to get some long-term projects completed and I am looking forward to starting some new work… finally. In fact the fabric has been cut, the paint gathered and tomorrow I have promised myself a little painting session.

Another bit of good news came in the mail. Ami Simms sent me a copy of the Alumni magazine for Kalamazoo College. As Ami is a grad they did a really nice article about her and the Alzheimer’s project. The writer, Emma Perry did a wonderful job interviewing Ami and conveying the objective of Ami’s Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative. The other thing that Emma did was to include photos of six of the quilts that are touring with the Alzheimer’s: Forgetting Piece by Piece exhibit and on of them was “Nevilyn”. I was overwhelmed.

Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow. --Plato

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Way leads to Way

Lately I have been talking about making changes. Part of the reason that I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks is because I have been experimenting and making changes with my daily schedule, trying something for a few days and seeing how it works and either discarding the idea entirely, making minor adjustments, or discovering that the new way is quite welcome.

What I find most amazing is that as I have opened myself for change and new experiences the universe has supplied me with teachers and encouragement. Here is what my horoscope said one day last week:

An opportunity may seem far beyond your reach today, but this is not the case. You are much closer than you think. You merely need to make small adjustments to your current path and you could be welcoming tremendous prosperity with open arms.

Even the packaging on a new soup I decided to try was imparting much the same message:

…we’ve discovered that taking one small, positive step seems to lead to the next and the next and the next. Then when we look back we realize that way led to way.
Way leads to Way.

The soup was really delicious. And these are only two examples of the messages that the universe has been sending to me. I think I am on the right path.

So with some of the experimentation that has been going on I haven’t had much of a mind for creating. But recently I found myself yearning to create and yet unable to really commit to any of the things on my list. So instead I grabbed a bag of scraps and told myself that even if it was something small, I was going to create something and whatever I used had to come out of that bag of scraps. The other caveat was that if I was going to start this thing I was going to finish it too.

So here is what came out of my scrap bag.

Change your thoughts and you change your world. —Norman Vincent Peale