Packing for the journey, part 2

With the great encouragement of some talented friends, I have been making friends with the pencil. Drawing, or at least sketching, is slowly becoming part of my process.

It is helping me to remember things and ideas, and to slow down and pay attention to the moment. 

It’s also been useful when discussing ideas with clients. I’ve been surprised how a very crude scruffy sketch on the fly has helped us move forward together. 

A drawing kit for the journey, but not too much:

  • Visual diary in pretty cover by The Sewphist
  • Soft & hard mechanical pencils
  • Black fine marker
  • Gold & silver gel pens
  • Blue, red & yellow Acquarelle pencils
  • Square & pointed watercolour brushes (for blending pencils and washing with coffee etc)
  • A spoon for burnishing/rubbing

In Sevilla I added a green pencil. 

pencil case  lying open across notebookThis kit i have used quite often and with great pleasure. Whether or not it’s a “perfect picture” doesn’t matter a bit. 

sketch of a tower at Park Güell

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.

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.

In the twinkling of an eye

Picture me, merrily quilting away, when suddenly, BANG! Snapped needle! 

Top section still in the machine, pointy eye end still on the thread…midsection flying past my eye at high speed.

Not a very nice sensation at all. 

 It’s far from the first time I’ve broken a needle, and once again I’m considering wearing safety glasses while i quilt.

However, if I’m honest, ALL my broken needles have come from my own unforced actions or neglect of good machine use. This time I’d recently changed to the quilting foot (lower left picture) and hadn’t tightened the locating screw enough. The screw loosened, foot moved sideways meaning the hole in the clear plastic was no longer in the right place for the needle to pass through into the quilt. So the needle attempted to make a new hole…

It’s a bit of a dilemma. If i get safety glasses, i have to remember (choose) to wear them. Or I can remember (choose) to take care *every* time I touch the machine.  

Inside, outside

Working at home can be hard to stop…. just a few more stitches … What fun and relaxing thing could I do after dinner? Well, there’s that quilt … 
You can have too much of a good thing. Prescription: a weekend in the garden; pruning, shredding, digging, planting. And of course LOOKING at plant forms. 
Just the refreshing inspiration needed for the next quilt “Green Economy”