Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

Embroidery, or Picking Up Stitches

November 13, 2019

My crazy quilt pile called to me this week, so I consolidated the stack and picked up some blocks. The floral block above is done enough. I’ll put more stitching on it when I put the top together, but it needs some context before I can decide what I want to do.

The block above was easy, as I had always intended to use an outline stitch for the koi. I set the block aside because I discovered I didn’t have enough blue embroidery floss to finish the design. Luckily, a delicate peach floss caught my eye while I could still adapt the color scheme.

This block needs more work, but will also need context before I know what to do with it. I’m calling it done for the moment, because I’m pretty sure I could cover the entire thing with stitching and still not be happy with it.

One thing I am happy with is my decision not to save all the last bits of floss. Instead, I’m going to fill a scrap of Aida cloth with blocks of color. You can see the beginning above. I may put beads on it as well. We’ll see what the project tells me to do.

The thread in the box is the part of my collection I could get my hands on. I know I have more floss and specialty threads somewhere, but they’re playing a real good game of hide and seek with me. This is why cleaning my sewing room has been a grand adventure for such a long time. I really have no idea what I’ll find when I finally get to the last pile.

Luck and wisdom!

Repurposing and My New Purse

November 6, 2019

I have been searching for the perfect purse most of my life. I’ve gone through quite a few that were wonderful, but when they wore out I couldn’t find a good replacement. I made my own purse once, with pockets and zippers and sides that stood up, but it was more trouble than I wanted to experience again. Just as I was despairing that the problem was insoluble, my Halloween handbag gave me the answer. It is square, which makes it easier to arrange zippered pouches inside. Why bother trying to make a bunch of interior pockets fit easily, or wrestle with thick stablizers, when I can repurpose my considerable collection of pouches?

A few years ago, I made a bunch of zippered pouches as gifts. Not all of them were suitable to give away, but I kept them for my own use. I have also received many lovely zippered pouches as gifts from friends and family. Not all of them were put into service immediately, and I’ve always felt bad about that. Now I have a use for more of them, so I’m happy (one more item on the annual “Things I’m Thankful For” list for the Thanksgiving discussion).

I made a few alterations to the pattern (The Bellinzona Cube by Pixeladies, although I couldn’t find a link to it on their homepage). Aside from enlarging it a smidge, I added pockets to all four sides. I also added a sewn-in strap with a clip for my keys to one pocket, and made one taller and narrower to corral my pens.

The best news is the pattern went together well, even with the changes I made. Now I will be able to experiment as my handbag needs evolve – and never again be forced to buy something that is almost but not quite right.

Luck and wisdom!

What Is Forward?

November 4, 2019

Although I write fiction, I mostly read nonfiction. The latest book – that I found at the library, the best invention ever – is Joseph LeDoux‘s The Deep History of Ourselves: The Four-Billion-Year Story of How We Got Conscious Brains. Without weighing in on LeDoux’s theory, I will share one tidbit that may inspire a poem, a quilt, and/or a character. LeDoux writes, “What is forward? Forward is a direction that emerges from the shape of a bilateral body.”

So, forward is where I’m looking.

Okay, that’s simplistic to the point of inaccuracy, but still there are creative possibilities in those two sentences. Quilters who make double-sided pieces know what I mean. When both sides are beautiful, which is the front? I’m not sure where my pondering will take me, but I have given myself permission to explore. After all, if I don’t like the view I can always change direction and still be going forward.

Luck and wisdom!

Again With The Lobsters

September 18, 2019

The next project in the pile is all about sea life. I hadn’t realized how much I bought of this lobster and crab fabric. Since I want to use up my stash, not create just enough scraps to demand a secondary project (or tertiary), I’m doing something I haven’t done in years – a “planned” quilt.

All of these blocks are the same, which is not my style at all. I will have enough of the lobster and crab fabric to make a backing – also not my usual procedure (I tend to back quilts with what I have enough of that is sorta kinda maybe the same color as the top). It will go to the guild’s charity quilt program and I will go on to the next project in the pile, but this is not the end of my lobster and crab collection.

Luck and wisdom!

Where The Stories Are

September 16, 2019

I’m reading The Bastard Brigade by Sam Kean. The book is about the creation of the atomic bomb, and the efforts by each side in World War II to stop the other from getting there first. I’ve read some of that history from the Allied side, but not so much from the Nazi side. Kean is an engaging writer, and gives the reader a wonderful grounding in the people involved in the events. He starts his book with a character I first read about in a short story by Rick Wilber in Asimov’s Science Fiction. Moe Berg was a baseball player, polyglot, and spy. Wilber used him in several alternate history short stories (he now has a book, The Moe Berg Episodes).

I vaguely remembered that Berg was a real person whose history inspired Wilber, which I can understand now that I’ve read Kean’s book. It reinforces the advice I’ve read (and give!) that stories are everywhere. Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, life will bring you treasures if you take the time to look. Little known characters from history can make fabulous protagonists; snatches of overheard conversation can give you the opening line to a new short story; the kerfuffle in the supermarket check-out line can be the springboard for the plot of a 3-volume novel. Keep your eyes and ears open, because the stories are out there, waiting for you.

Luck and wisdom!

Figs In Space

September 11, 2019

I unearthed an experiment of space fabric layered on batting and quilted, and decided it would be an ideal foundation for my fig applique. Don’t ask why, just go with it. I attached the applique with some running stitches, and added beads and embroidered leaves.

The binding is narrow sheer ribbon. The planet patch covers the spot where the ribbon ends meet. Technically, this is a single fig in space, but the plural sounds better to me so that’s what the piece is called – Figs In Space. Consider this your whimsy for the day.

Luck and wisdom!

What’s At Hand

September 4, 2019

The curse of productivity is that you find yourself repeating the same pattern because it is efficient. After running through a bunch of tops for donation quilts, my creativity decided to take a vacation. Realizing I needed to do something completely different so I could face my fabric collections again, I took a look at what was at hand. This is what I found.

My original idea was to create a forest scene, but that wasn’t working. Someone suggested I cut it up, bead the units, and make pins. That may still happen, but for the moment I’m beading the piece whole.

I have a box of beautiful green beads that I would love to use, but not a lot of any one variety. I may bead the center and turn it into an art piece, then trim off the edges to make small pins. Regardless, the project at hand is letting those little gray cells work again, and that’s good enough for me.

Luck and wisdom!

Overcoming Avoidance – Part One, Writing

August 12, 2019

I need a patron saint for procrastinators. My gargoyle of “get going, girl!” hasn’t been doing the job. Oh, I’m getting some things done (note that this blog is posted), but I’m not getting enough done. Perhaps I can’t really call my problem procrastination. If I had an idea where my characters were taking me I’d be writing those scenes, and if I had decided where I wanted to take them I’d have finished the book. There’s a great scene in an episode of Babylon Five where Zathrus says, “Cannot say. Knowing, would say. Do not know, so cannot say.” That pretty much sums up my writing these days. I’m open to suggestions for overcoming avoidance. In the meantime, I will meditate on journeys and hope my characters speak up about the ones they want to take.

Luck and wisdom!

Deco Done Wright

June 5, 2019

The binding is on one of my Projects in Piles (PIPs), and it is labeled, so I can check it off the list. This is Deco Done Wright, a project that began with a coloring exercise.

Betty Busby had some of these Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired printed squares at an Art Quilt Santa Fe retreat. I used Derwent Inktense pencils to color in parts of my square, then put it away for “the perfect project.” Since that never comes around, no matter how long I wait, I pulled it out for my quilting buddies in the Progressive Party to finish. They did such a great job I put the project away again because I didn’t know how to quilt it. When I started my PIPs challenge, I decided I would combine hand and machine quilting.

Once again, the power of a deadline came to the rescue and I now have a wonderful quilt. Force yourself to finish things. Setting a deadline works for me – find the way that works for you. You’ll feel a foot taller without the weight of unfinished projects on your shoulders.

Luck and wisdom!

You Are Never Too Old For Toys

April 17, 2019

My daughter sent me a box of Harry & David treats, and I discovered that kids and cats have it right after all. The cardboard box is always part of the gift – in this case, the insert in the box that kept the tower of treats from rattling around during shipping. I set it aside to use for elevation at displays. I will drape some fabric over it, then lean things against it, put something light on top of it, or surround it with ribbon to draw attention to my booth. Then I noticed that the little cut-outs looked like eyes. “Self,” I said, “you’ve got a mask here.” So I decorated it.

Oh, yeah, we’re having fun now!

Luck and wisdom!