Got back into my studio today. I'd spent a good part of last week cleaning it -- what a delight to see the floor again!
On the left -- what you see right in front of the door -- my cutting and ironing surfaces, a bookshelf (far left) and storage. On the right -- Pookie in the Cat Basket by the south-facing window, my sewing area, and the edge of my 'rack' which doubles as both fabric and thread storage and -- sans baskets and hooks -- the stand on which I display my wares at the Lacombe Art Show and Sale.
Although I was bursting with ideas, and have two pieces to complete within the next 4 weeks, it was tougher than I thought to get going.
I eased myself in by auditioning some hand-dyed fabric for the background of a 'whole-cloth' piece I'm doing for 15 x 15. This is a new-to-me group I was invited to join last month, and this is my first piece. There are 15 artists and each piece is to be 15" square. There's a different theme each month; for May it's "Garden".
At first I thought I might use the theme to work out what I want to do for the second piece -- a 24" square piece for SAQA Western Canada' next travelling exhibit, based on the Burgess Shale Project -- but in the end, I went with something different.
I grew up in the sixties, and was 16 in the summer of 1969, the summer of Woodstock. I have always loved Joni Mitchell's song celebrating that festival, and have been thinking of these words:
We are stardust;
we are golden --
and we've got to get ourselves
back to the Garden.
I've titled my piece 'Back to the Garden'. Having selected a section of the hand-dyed fabric -- a parfait-dyed piece I made several years ago -- I took the plunge and cut an 18" square. I sandwiched it and spray-basted it -- and hung it on my design wall while I contemplated the quilting of it.
Currently my 'regular' machine -- the Husquvarna Lily 555 -- is at the "sewing spa" (Homespun Seasons in Stettler) for her annual tune-up. I'm due to pick her up next week. Meanwhile, I'm using The Work Horse -- a manual Husquvarna 225 -- just to give her a bit of exercise.
I had her tuned up almost a year ago and haven't used her since, so I began with simple piecing and put together the May Block of the Month for my "Cinnamon" quilt (remember...those kits I have that I've vowed to assemble -- one per year (at least) till all three are finished and given away?)
Here's the May block -- my least favourite pattern, a flower basket:
Assured that I still knew how to sew (grin) I moved on to quilting "Back to the Garden". I tried FMQ...with top and bottom thread the same weight...and had Tension Issues big time. The only way I could get the top and bottom thread to meet in the middle was to lower the tension almost to zero!! Not fun. I frogged it all and decided to go with 'regular' stitching (i.e. feed dogs UP)...and created radiating lines -- reminiscent of the sun's rays -- with golden polyester thread (Sulky 40 wt, colour #942) in the top and blue cotton (same weight) in the bottom (the back is a blue 'tree' print and I wanted it to blend.
Here's what it looks like on my design wall*:
*Please bear with me if the photos aren't my usual style. I'm just learning the new photo capabilities of this lap-top and haven't found all the bells and whistles yet!
So...you can see from the photo that the sun's rays are coming down from above...the garden is the purple-green-brown area at the bottom.
There will be star-shaped and seed beads spangled across the sky (top half)...and hand embroidery in the bottom. I'll probably envelope/face it rather than bind it.
It's now been trimmed to 17" square...only a bit more to trim, before I bead and bind/face.
And yes...there is work of a different kind.
Yesterday I popped in to The Crafty Lady (my LYS in Lacombe) to get a new gizmo for managing my DPNs (double-pointed needles)...having lost my original one on a plane somewhere in recent travels. There I found the star-shaped beads I'm going to use on BTTG (above), and bought 10 to audition.
Then...Lori, the owner/manager, asked me if I would be willing and able to work for her in the shop one day a week. Thursdays, to be exact. Reasonable wage, 8 hours' work, staff discount...and I can knit or hand-stitch when it's quiet.
I came home, prayed, checked the fine print in my pension file, checked my calendar, checked my heart...and said "Yes!"
I start May 16. If you're in the area, do drop by and say 'hi'.