Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Back to Work

...in more ways than one!

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'.


Jenny K. Lyon said...

Newsy post! Working at the LYS could be dangerous...! Did you try to tighten you bobbin tension for the FMQ? Might help and then the top tension would return to normal range. Just a thought. Love the piece and I can see your vision on it-fun challenge!

Regina B Dunn said...

Nice studio; love Pookie!

Lesley Turner said...

Thanks for sharing your studio space.I can now imagine you at work

Margarita Korioth said...

Your studio looks good Margaret. I'm cleaning mine...third day and I haven't finish :)