Back to the bundles…

I’m house sitting (you saw it on the Plan!). Working away from the studio requires a bit of thinking ahead. I pack all of the usual sewing tools- and some Projects. While I’m here I’m going to make the Baby Quilt top. Assuming that doesn’t take all my time, I also brought the Basket of Bundles so i can make something else too.  

soft cane basket of rolled bundles of fabricric

Basket of bundles. lower left: baby quilt fabrics. Upper right: 2 bundles unrolled

 
This basket is close to being my favourite thing. It’s full of bits of fabric, none very large, all collected at random. I group them in delicious combinations and roll them up until it’s their turn to be sewn. Any bundle can be raided for the perfect fabric for the current quilt. Any fabric can be rejected and put back in the basket to be added to a later combo. Bundles are taken apart and recombined.

This seems completely unplanned; from the perspective of each quilt sewn, it is. However, from the perspective of creating a steady stream of interesting unique quilts, this fun process is the best plan I can imagine.

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New Year = PLANNING

 wall planner chart with lots filled in 
2016 will be a big year for me, so PLANNING was right at the top of last night’s do-list

I love to wing it, be spontaneous, trust that everything will be all right on the night. It usually is! And much more exciting. I hate listing and planning and scheduling, and I think of them as workplace disciplines.

Now that my studio is my primary workplace, and i want to get a lot done…I have to admit I can use them here too. It’s been working better than Spontaneous Sarah likes to admit. 

I also have to admit that i spent most of the day scraping paint off architraves, which was about no. 8 on the do-list. But, just in time before bedtime, voila! The wall-planner hung & embellished with the known, suspected and desired elements of the first half of 2016. Whew.

Back to normal 

  I always press the fabric. Well, technically, I IRON it. 

Official Quilting Advice always says to PRESS, which means the iron goes up & down without sliding across the fabric. For fear of distortion.

I’m far too lazy and impatient to conform to that. But i do iron gently with just a little steam. More a stroking of the fabric. Getting to know it. Teaching it who’s in charge. Pretty sure I can’t stretch The Baby metaphor to that!

More unusual behaviour 

 pink fabrics blowing on a rotary clothesline Some people insist that pre-washing fabric for a quilt is essential. They worry about colours running and about shrinkage. I don’t usually do this. Most of my quilts are for the wall, or are for adults. Not likely to be washed often, or ever. I choose good quality materials so the risks of both problems are minimal.

For this baby quilt, I’m working outside of habit. I know it’s likely to be washed often, so there’s more opportunity for something to go wrong. I might even pre-wash the batting! or choose a non-shrinking polyester. They dry fast, could be the best choice anyway. 

Pre-washing also removes the manufacturing dressing from the fabric. This stuff can be irritating to sensitive skin. Remember, it’s All About The Baby! and its Mum.

unpacking, creating order

I returned back to my flat after a beautiful week away housesitting.  That means unpacking the car and bags, and a lot of sorting out.  Creating order. Which is my very favourite thing among many others.

“Homecoming” is easy now – it’s the flipside of the speedy packing I wrote about earlier. However, housesitting is really different from a hotel trip – in so many ways. Focusing on just two elements:

I take much more stuff, because I plan to do some nice recreational things, and cook of course. This time I took sheet music (singing practice), sewing machine & fabric (finish a quilt top) and an assortment of edibles to complement the good stuff I knew I’d find in the pantry.

It’s bigger, and I use more of the space. I had stuff in two bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, laundry, lounge, office, garage, bikeshed, deck! Pretty well spread out, what luxury.

You do your best when packing up to leave, but it’s inevitable something gets left behind. That’s where the orderly unpacking comes in – if I put stuff away in its proper place as soon as I get home, theoretically I’ll notice the gaps and realise what’s missing. So far, I’ll I’ve missed is the cheese (“Who moved my cheese?”) Hopefully the family will recognise it’s feta and make a Greek salad.

Hope there’s nothing else more significant …

Solitary no more

I’ve been house-sitting this week, with the bonus of a tiny wee kitten to care for. She’s been just enough company. I’ve seen a handful of friends – exactly the right people and the right duration – otherwise a most blissful solitude.

Tonight the family returned, late in the evening, after a long drive. They’re all in bed now, but it’s incredible how the feeling of the house has changed. Solitary no more, a new energy.