Always in Stitches

Location: Algonquin, Illinois, United States

Monday, March 27, 2006

All Sewn Up

I have been sewing and working all week, and yet all I have to show you today is this tiny 4 x 6 postcard. How can that be? You know I had to ask myself that same question. The answer is sometimes there is just a lot of clean up work that has to get done for something to really be DONE! Number one on the list for last week was writing out some details on a previously completed piece, and getting it prepped to mail out. Writing is often an adventure of feast or famine for me. It either just flows off the tips of my fingers, or I end up banging my head against any available hard surface trying to dislodge the thoughts I know are there. Finally, it is a fete accompli.

Next was putting the binding on the little Noah’s Arc piece. It is a proven fact that bindings take longer than the actual construction of the piece. Don’t ask me why. Then I had some finishing to do to the Fox River piece. You know things like a label and a sleeve to hang it from. Oh, and I decided to put whiskers on the fox. Just a little bit of floss did the trick.

Then, I took a side trip. Lately, I have decided that I really like painting my own fabric. So when I got a call asking for help in locating some information about under-painting, I was intrigued. I found a site by Jonathan Janson that was very informative, and it provided the answer to a problem that I didn’t know I had! There is a piece of work that I have been carrying around in my head that exists in full living color. My challenge is to transform what is in my head into the physical reality. One more piece of the puzzle just fell into place.

The postcard is titled “Memories of Tucson”. Several years ago a friend and I took a trip to Tucson to see a quilt show and meet up with some on-line friends. While we were there we also took in the sights, a side trip to Sahuarita, the gem show, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and the Old Tucson Studios. So when I learned of a call for postcards for an exhibit at Tohono Chul Park I just knew I had to enter.

While I was busy painting the postcard, I also painted a bit of fabric that may end up being the background for my March Journal quilt, but I am not convinced. There is something that is not quite right with it and I am thinking that I need to start over. Good thing today is Monday.

A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind. —Albert von Szent-Gyorgvi

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Saddling Up

There was a big monster sleeping in my studio. For the last eighteen months or so I have known it was there and I had gotten very good at ignoring the fact that it really did exist. To be honest, that monster in there was rather scary to me. Lately, I would sneak a peek in there and try to determine just what I was going to do. You know deep down inside I just knew that the day would come that I would have to DO something.

This last week I saw robins in my yard. I have always thought that no matter what the calendar says, the day that I see robins is a sure sign that spring is here. Of course that is normally followed by about eight inches of snow. But all in all, I place great stock in the arrival of the robins. I think they know much more about the seasons than the weatherman does. Anyway, the robins are also the harbinger of another spring phenomenon –spring-cleaning.

This past weekend the focus of the spring-cleaning became the studio… and the monster residing there. I entered with a bit of hesitation but a firm resolve. Today was the day! I swept and cleaned and knocked down cobwebs and chased dust bunnies. Then I gently touched the monster. It lazily opened one sleepy eye and started unblinkingly at me. I stood my ground and did not run screaming from the room. Instead I gently wiped the dust from her belly bar.

“You’ve been gone a long time,” the Gammill monster sighed.

“I know,” I replied as I continued wiping the dust and lint from her frame.

“I could use some oil,” she whispered hopefully.

And so it began. Just like two old friends who had lost touch and didn’t quite know what to say to one another. There were plenty of awkward moments followed by embarrassed laughter. Slowly, we were starting to become friends again. We even managed to load a quilt and do a little playing. Nothing fancy mind you. Just a matter of stretching old muscles and remembering how it once felt.

Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway. —John Wayne

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Travel Challenge

There it is. I said that I had an idea Sunday morning for the travel challenge. The idea was to make a travel poster type piece about the place where you live. While I had several ideas, I was not inclined to use any of them. This one at least had some potential so I set to work.

Monday night I drew up the cartoon, Tuesday I painted all the fabric and pieced/appliquéd the top, yesterday I quilted it and finished it off. I took the picture this morning.

The verdict: It’s cute.

Cute isn’t normally my style. The good thing is that it is done and I can move on to the next thing. Hopefully, it will not be cute.

Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.--Oscar Wilde

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Hi Ho

This is the piece that I have been working on the past few days. I am pretty happy with it overall and I even thought I knew how I wanted to quilt it. Then I ran into major interference. The “muse” didn’t like it. Of course Miss Muse would offer nothing constructive on how she thought it might be better, just that snide little “I don’t like it”. So I tossed it into the contemplation corner.

In the meanwhile I got busy with some other work. There was a little bit of writing that I wanted to get done; I got a few sketches done in my sketchbook and I crocheted yet another scarf.

For those of you who don’t know, since about mid October I have finished well over 40 scarves. A lot of them found new homes at Christmas time as presents for friends and family. I am not really sure why I have been doing them, except that crochet is a rather mindless activity that keeps my hands busy and allows my mind time to wander, or find the solution to nagging problems.

By the time I had finished this scarf, I had come up with a new quilting idea for the piece in the top picture and this time the muse approves. I also came up with a design idea for the travel challenge that I had signed up for. And just in time since I have to have pictures of it submitted by Wednesday. Guess that means I had best get back to work.

My work is a game, a very serious game.--M.C. Escher

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Bump in the Road

Well two family funerals last week managed to flat out stop the creative juices.

But today I have my hands back on fabric. Granted some of that fabric is actually LAUNDRY, but some of the fabric I am touching is looking and acting like it wants to be made into a quilt. I wonder if anyone would notice if a few articles went “missing”?

Promise to post more when I have something to share.

"What we see depends mainly on what we look for."-- John Lubbock