Saturday, September 28, 2013

Creative necessity

The pressures of the day job have been getting to me lately, especially since too many work obligations have left me without the time and energy for quilting over the past few weeks.  I get frustrated and stressed when I don't have time for creative contemplation, and last night I couldn't sleep for all the thoughts spinning in my head.  Basically, I'm not happy if I'm not creating.  Finally, around 1:30 a.m. I just got out of bed to work on a quilt that I started imagining back in August for VMQG's latest challenge. 

I spent about forty minutes or so cutting fabric and piecing before going to bed, and I continued with another forty minutes or so of sewing this morning.  I didn't work on the actual challenge quilt, but a small preliminary study in order to experiment with raw edge applique.  For me, the challenge fabrics immediately inspired a vision of scattered leaves across a pieced background, and with the preliminary study, I'm trying to see if I can bring that vision to life.  Here's the quilt thus far:

It feels so good to be creating again.  I will sleep well tonight!

Saturday, September 21, 2013


I went downstairs to my sewing room one evening a couple of weeks back, and here's what I found:

Aaack!  I'd been had, yet again!

Today I took defensive action, by going to Ikea for some of the hooks that hang over the edges of cabinet doors:

The idea is that fabrics in use for current projects now hang, rather than sitting in a tempting pile on my cutting table.  We'll see if this system actually works in practice--I'm not optimistic about my ability to put things away at the end of my sewing sessions, even in this minimal fashion.  But it beats the constant resort to the lint roller, and maybe as an added bonus, my fabrics won't get as wrinkled.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Piecing at a snail's pace: WIP Wednesday

Progress on my heron quilt is so incremental that I think it will get monotonous if I keep showing the view of the whole thing, so I'm just going to provide photos of little segments and hints until the entire top is done.  This past week, I finished the top left part, and I put together another unit of curved flying geese:

The flying geese are made from an exquisite piece of yukata fabric that I bought many years ago from Kasuri Dyeworks, the fabulous Japanese fabric store that used to be in Berkeley, CA.  Alas, Kasuri Dyeworks closed when store founder Koji Wada and his wife Debbie decided to move to Wyoming for their retirement, and sadly, Koji passed away just a few years later.  He was a wonderful man, with tremendous knowledge of and passion for Japanese textiles.  Kasuri Dyeworks apparently still makes it to a few select quilt shows, however, and I keep dreaming of going down to the Road to California one of these years in the hopes of purchasing a big bundle of intricately dyed yukata and katazome cottons.  Maybe January 2014?

In the meantime, the heron quilt is slow going because I'm also trying to do more sewing for my Etsy shop.  I managed to make a couple of drawstring pouches, plus I prepped fabric for a couple of ID holder wristlet coin purses.  Here's one of the pouches, in pale green vintage kimono silk, with a gorgeous butterfly and hollyhock design:

The quest for organization continues as well, especially my determination to use every bit of spare space to its best effect.  I noticed that the end of my pine frame bookcase underneath my cutting table wasn't doing anything useful, and I had a scrap of peg board that was just the right width, so I screwed it to the exposed end of the bookcase.  For a bit of perspective, here's the before photo:

And here's the close-up afterwards, underneath the table:

Now there's finally a good place to store rulers, plus a few other odds and ends, including the funny little stuffed brain cell that my sister gave me a while back.  I might paint the pegboard and the back of the cabinetry under my cutting table someday, but not before next summer.  For now, the utilitarian look will have to do.  Kudos to the Ellison Lane Sewing Studio Spotlight, in which so many of the studios demonstrated the virtues of pegboard, not to mention how fresh and cheerful it can look if painted in bright colors.

My day job is about to speed up again, so I might not have any quilting progress to show for a while, especially since I absolutely must put sleeves and labels on three quilts that are going to the Northwest Quilting Expo in Portland, as part of a special exhibit of quilts by the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild.  Hope the rest of you out in the blogosphere will enjoy a lot more sewing time.  Happy quilting, everyone!