Monday, January 18, 2010

Little pleasures add up

It's been a good few days here. First, it warmed back up to normal, which makes life so much more pleasant and means I can get back into my sewing studio! Project Runway started back up and the judges agreed with me for the first winner, maybe that's a good sign.

I finally signed up for Facebook and was thrilled to get in touch with my best friend from seventh and eighth grade, as well as other friends I've lost touch with.

I've been negotiating a peace treaty among my various cats. Two live inside and three in sunrooms/screened carports and one of the inside cats, Pepper, does not like to share his territory. We've made some progress and I've had Pixel and Rascal in the house for a few hours each day. Both are very curious about my sewing and Rascal decided yesterday to help me quilt.

Sunday we went to see "Avatar." Wow! That is one of the most visually stunning movies I have seen in a long time. It really sets the standard for what can be done with CGI, and the blending of live action and CGI was absolutely seamless. The story was a little predictable, but well told and certainly thought provoking.

Of course the most important good thing is that I got back into the sewing studio. Thursday and Friday evenings I finished the free motion work on a small piece, Tybee Fireworks III and spent most of my time cutting up scraps into squares and strips. My bins about about overflowing and there are still lots of scraps.

Saturday I got goodies in the mail, three new art quilt books ("Quilting Arts," "More Altered Photo Artistry," and "Thread Work Unraveled") and a set of watercolor pencils. I read a bit and tried out the pencils, of course, but spent most of the day organizing my main sewing space. One large trashbag later, I can see my counters, but the adjoining room, officially the dining room, still looks like a fabric store exploded.

In one of my breaks from organizing I tried some thread sketching. It's lighter than thread painting, just as pencil sketching is more open than painting. My first effort was a simple palm tree with ocean background. Rather than use a hoop I layered it with batting and a backing, treating it more as free motion quilting. I haven't decided if I'm going to leave it as is or do more experimenting, maybe fill in a bit with colored pencils or???

Back to the sewing! Lots to do today!

Monday, January 11, 2010

A look back and forward

Happy New Year! I know it's a little late, but thanks to this mini-Ice Age I haven't been able to get in my studio for more than a week, so no new sewing to report. So I've been thinking about what I accomplished in 2009 and what I hope to do in 2010.

In 2009
I completed eight quilts that were lap size or larger. Four were given away, four were to keep. The four to keep were all UFOs (started in 2008 or earlier) and they were: Red & White, 2001 Treadle On Block Exchange (TOBE); Road To Tybee, my version of Bonnie Hunter's Old Tobacco Road; Captain's Courtyard, 2008 Treadle On Birthday TOBE, designed by Dick Wightman of Treadle On; and Sudoku, based on the number puzzle.

I finished two more quilt tops and have one of them quilted and am working on the binding. I also hosted a block exchange with the Treadle On list.

I completed five original small quilts. Angel of the Garden; Tybee Fireworks I and II, Palm and Hundreds of Turtles.

I entered one art show, with Angel of the Garden, which won first place. I donated Tybee Fireworks II to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative and it sold at the Houston Show.

I took one class, Bonnie Hunter's Boxy Stars. The blocks for the quilt are finished, just waiting to be assembled. I had planned on another class, Twisted Bargello, but had a conflict.

I did pretty well at not buying fabric "just because" except for my trips to North Carolina and Tennessee, when I splurged on some beautiful, bargain fabric.

I also made it a point not to look for more sewing machines, but a few of them found me anyway. I filled in a couple of gaps in my collection with a beautiful 1950s aluminum Singer 201K. I have converted it to handcrank and it is a wonderful machine. I also bought a Singer 12 treadle with beautiful Ottoman Carnation decals. Other additions include two treadles a friend gave me.

I did not do much with the bags and fabric postcards I make for sale, just continued to sell the inventory I had made in 2008, which is almost gone now.

What's ahead for 2010?
On the QuiltArt list last week people were talking about themes for the year. I chose the word "dance." A few years ago the song "I Hope You Dance," really struck me, with the lines about dancing whenever you have the chance. I'm very content at home with my BF, my cats, my sewing and art and my books. So I have to push myself to get out and do things, even when I know I will enjoy them once I get there. So my goal for the year is to push myself, go to guild activities (even when I don't feel like making the drive), take the classes, try the new techniques, don't save "good" stuff for later, but use it now.

A few specific goals.
Continue to work to improve my skills, from free-motion quilting to precision in piecing. Try new techniques. I am especially interested in drawing/painting on fabric, thread painting and photos on fabric.

Spend more time on original quilts and art quilts, and reduce the amount of time spent on others' designs.

Continue to work on completing the traditional quilts in progress, and participate in Treadle On block exchanges.

Participate in guild's charity projects and donate at least one piece to another non-profit effort.

Enter guild's fall show and Georgia National Fair. Enter at least one additional show during the year.

Develop a new inventory of items for sale, concentrating on original designs which are more fun and sell better. Explore using etsy to sell some things. Enter one juried arts and fine crafts show.

Continue to be thoughtful about fabric purchases and try to use more than I buy.

There are only a couple of sewing machines on my "wish" list, so my main priority is going to be working on those I have and using them, and clearing out some extras to make room for an industrial treadle I may be buying from a friend.

I'm excited about the possibilities for my quilts and art this year, just wish it would warm up so I can get back to the studio. Until then, I've been cutting up cotton shirts to be used in some future projects. More fabric to use up, oh, no!!