quilting


As I am forcing myself to prepare for a show which from this point of view is looking potentially “disasterous”, I find myself once again questioning.  That ever present question – “is it time to quit?”  And as the years have progressed, I seem to have been gathering evidence for “yes”.  I guess it’s simply a matter of time until those reasons outweigh the one that has kept me going – that being “out and about” is better for my “health and well being” than to remain “home alone” in this small space.  It is beginning to feel like the wear and tear on my aging body is overcoming the “ego perks”. 😦

And then there is this – I can not continue to be a kind of “traveling museum”.  That is, displaying a skill that was once ‘honored’, so to speak, and valued.  Handwork, like clocks with hands, is becoming extinct in terms of a skill anyone wants to learn – let alone master. And while the ‘oohs & ahhs’ feel good, they don’t pay the bills, so to speak(again^_^).  And, as we all know, everything required to produce a product and get it to a location, and into a space – all of those “expenses” have gone way up.  While “income” has continued to decline.

And that leaves the issue of ‘intent’ – why am I doing this in the first place??  Yes, I certainly need to make money!  As noted above – there are those built in expenses.  There are also the what would be called ‘overhead’ expenses, except in this case – it includes ‘living’ expenses!!  So, there is that.  However, there has always been the joy of creating and sharing.  I have refused to do things/designs just because they would sell – so to speak. (again)^_^  I have only done what has called to me – my favorite flowers, etc.  And, until recently, only using hand, needleturn applique’!  Yes, there are those two new patterns!  They are done with machine applique’.  And you might be thinking – well, then, why not just go in that direction?  And I can only say – because that would not be being true to me.  It would feel like ‘doing it for the money’ – and then it would truly become a “JOB”!  It’s hard work and hard enough to do ‘for the love of it’!!

And there you have it – my unanswered question.

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It has been a long time since I found myself moved to do this – write a blog.  However, having completed my normal morning routine of coffee, journaling, reading and browsing email/FB – I sat for just a moment before getting up to begin the ‘doing’ of the day.  And as my mind kind of reviewed all of the above – it came to rest and ponder one particular area and then I heard that voice – the one that tells me ‘what to do’ and the one I have learned to follow. So, here I am at this keyboard and I shall attempt to type something that may be of value to someone in some small way.

I am a quilter – more specifically, I am a pattern designer and I design patterns for “applique”, which is just one ‘phase’ of quilting. I sell my patterns thru a website and by vending at quilt shows. To become a vendor requires submitting an application, paying for a booth space and then doing the physical labor required to actually set up the booth to display my wares, so to speak.  Sometimes I receive an invitation; sometimes I request an application.  Often I return year after year to the same show(s).  Sometimes I get ‘dropped’ from the list – intentionally or accidentally.  The shows of which I speak are the ones put on by local guilds; all who do the work of producing said show(s) are volunteers -folks who also have ‘real lives’ and responsibilities in addition to their guild ‘job’.  And in most cases the jobs are handed on every year – or every other year.  Lists get lost, etc.

I, like perhaps 99% of us on this planet, continue to struggle with/attempt to heal my very personal issues around ‘self-worth’.  So, attempting to sell something that I have created carries with it the same issues – no big surprise. ^_^  Thus, having to request acceptance into a show (i.e. ‘group’) carries with it all of those challenges around my evaluation of my ‘worth’.  Most of the time this is not a real ‘in my face’ kind of challenge/issue – I’m just acknowledging that it is lurking somewhere in the background. ^_^  As it is each day of the show as I stand in the booth with all my wares on display. It is often a HUGE challenge not to be drawn into the world’s evaluating systems – the ones that judge you based upon all the outer stuff – size, shape, color and bank account.  You know – if I have a great day (read that, ‘take in lots of money’), I am worthwhile.  Don’t think I need to type the alternative.

It’s the money part that brings me to what I really wanted to say.  What I noticed this morning was how lost I had become in the ‘making money’ aspect.  I had lost my passion for what I do – the creating part.  While calling myself an artist is still a carry over struggle from early decisions about myself – let’s just say I AM an artist and that is what I had managed to bury under my apparent need for money.  As every artist knows – if you are not creating from the pure joy of creating, inspiration soon dries up and you find yourself in the desert called lack and limitation, struggle and unhappiness.  And believing that money is the water of life, you will continue to thirst!!  And slowly die.

And so today if feels like I have reclaimed my artist and am ready to create again.  And I looked at a couple of recent interactions with ‘vendor chairs’ – those folks whose job it is to enroll vendors in participating in their show.  For some, it’s more a process of elimination – picking and choosing from the many applications.  For others it can be a struggle to find people to fill the available spaces.  And sometimes they find a vendor they really want and then must enroll them into the possibility their show represents.  As you might suspect – it’s a whole different experience on this side between those who seem to have a ‘surplus’ and those who are coming from an authentic appreciation for what you have to offer.  If I forget who I am and get caught up in the outside evaluations – it’s really easy to be invalidated by an attitude!!  And it gets even worse when I am having my usual financial struggles and don’t even have the booth fee for a show I really want to be a part of.  How embarrassing and shaming it can be.  How nice when there is understanding and a willingness to work out an agreement.  How belittling when not – IF I let it.  As I reviewed the two interactions – one of each – I found myself able to authentically let the one go and to appreciate the other.  And for me – that’s something like a breakthru!! ^_^

And the point of this long blog – where might it be time to let go?  Let go of people and situations where you feel invalidated, or that tend to cater to your perceived lack of worth??  I have been hearing, in the ‘Spiritual arenas’, that 2016 is the year of miracles!  I for one have chosen to run with that and keep a keen eye out for any opportunity to create one in my life!  If you have read all the way to here – perhaps you are also up for that??? ^_^

it’s been a long time coming for both of these designs!! i think i’m happy with them???  have no idea how they will be received.  neither is an ‘easy’ project , but, then – not much i do is. ^_^  i’d be happy to hear any comments (i think) ^_^

it’s hard to tell sizes from these pictures!  the morning glory is in the standard 10″ circle.  the bop is about 13 x 15.5 oval.  it’s definitely the tougher one!  all those skinny points! ^_^  thank goodness for batiks!!

mg final bop final

i was determined to spend this ‘free’ time productively – and there wasn’t much i needed to do to get ready for the next show, given the last one was a lot less than anticipated!  so, put my attention on ‘unfinished projects’ – things that are in line with where i’d like to go next with regard to ‘what to do with my life’. ^_^  these are projects that i plan to sell at some point down the road.

so, the first was one that hadn’t even been started – until recently.  i had done an initial drawing for an idea that was born way back before i even moved out here!  once i had the drawing done, i dug out the inspiration – and was not ‘impressed’!  not exactly as i had remembered it!  and still this idea had stuck in my head for over 15 years!!  seemed it needed to be done – one way or another!  i will just have to do the center however it gets created in the present time!!  i had to take this picture outside as my (expensive!) camera flash no longer works. grrr  i thought i had cropped it – oops! ^_^

poinsettia 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

that one is currently percolating – not yet certain about that center!  have some thoughts.  so, decided to pull out ‘next’ – and the star fabric seemed to be calling to me.  no, not fabric with stars on it – fabric from which i cut diamonds to make 8-pointed kaleidoscope-type stars.  in the past, i’ve used a ‘stripe’ kind of fabric, but some years ago there was a series that came out with a lot of metallic and in 3 (or 4?) colorways!  i could not resist cause i could just see those stars!  there was also a ‘matching’ stripe.  i think they went on sale at my local shop, so i bought some of each of what they had.  i had made some stars – both the 8-pointed ‘block’ kind and some 6-pointed smaller ones to applique.  the past few days i have been working on those and cutting out a few more.  they are very simple to sew!  the real challenge/trick is in knowing how/where to place that template to get something fun and interesting – and then to do that 8 times, as exactly the same as possible!  the first thing you learn is that fabric is not printed perfectly!!  oh, and then to pin them together as perfectly as possible. ^_^  so, here’s a picture of the non-stripe and one of the stars i made from it.  the star looks finished, but it’s just lying on the same black that i will use to finish it, so the seam allowance is still showing on the outer points – they will look slightly different once ‘completed’.

star fabric

star stripe a star 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

well, ok then – since i did that, i’ll leave it.  that’s the stripe that goes with that one.  will be making some from it as well.  it kinda works better for the smaller stars.

and that, my friends, is how some crazy people spend their time. ^_^  and, yes, i do have a large project in mind for these.  only problem is – it feels beyond my piecing/quilt designing capabilities.  guess that’s never stopped me before – does sometimes slow me down a bit. ^_^

as promised, here is the latest ‘creation’. this was not my idea – saw a picture on facebook and saved.  i didn’t go to the actual article and get instructions – just did my own thing.  the original was a bit more ‘refined’, i chose to make mine ‘primitive style’ – which means ya don’t have to worry about sewing straight, etc. ^_^

the cool thing is – made entirely from ‘scrap’ fabric from my ‘stash’ (quilters’ word for must save or had to have and will maybe use someday).  i chose to use flannel on the backs – a little easier to sew than extra layer of denim.  also hoped would help hold pieces in place when playing??  and, the best part – i even stuffed the pieces with fabric scraps!!  i have a huge bag-full to give to ‘someone’ to be used to stuff dog beds.  my local shop isn’t currently ‘collecting’ for a group who does that – not sure what i’m going to do with them.  intending for that to resolve itself. ^_^  so, anyway – i just chopped scraps into tiny pieces, much like you’d chop parsley.  only i used a rotary cutter instead of a knife.  i quickly resisted the notion to hold the fabric in place!!  felt way too dangerous!  have nicked a finger once or twice – that blade is very sharp!!  discovered that once i made the first cut it kind of held the fabric to the cutting mat – so not a problem.  narrow strips in one direction – repeat in opposite direction and voila’ – fabric ‘confetti’.  i also chose to do the background and batting in one piece and only ‘rag piece’ the top.  then stitched thru all layers within each little square.  i wet all the edges and into the dryer for 20 minutes – and there you have it!!

tic tac 1     tic tac 2i cut the board squares at 4″, did 1/2″ seams for the ‘ragging’.  cut the pieces at 3 1/2″.  did slightly less seam allowance on those.  about 3/8″.

for those who read yesterday’s post – mr. pepe was still not speaking to me at this point!  i didn’t use a flash, so he wasn’t frightened away.  by evening he was back to normal.  guess he had forgiven me.

ok, gotta scoot – teaching today and have once again put myself at risk of being late.

today i remembered – i do have something new in the works!  i am finally working on the book i began several years ago – and one i have been asked about lately – like ‘requested’. ^_^  it will not be a book that is published by C&T, or anyone like that.  could be – i’m just not choosing to do that.  and it will be spiral bound – not because that might be ‘cheaper’ – but because i want folks to be able to open it and have it lie flat.  it is to be used as a ‘teaching tool’ – with pictures for reference while you are stitching.  i am doing my best to write it the same way i teach the beginning applique class – including all the many little tips i give during those full day classes!

part of the reason it has remained ‘on the shelf’ was because i thought i had gone as far as i could without someone to hold a camera and ‘snap’ as i sewed.  i have spent the past few days redoing some of what i had done – so it really is like the class and the full size class pattern will come with it.  i am also considering doing a small cd – perhaps just using my fancy phone to make the video – nothing fancy, just very useful. ^_^

so, there are now 3 finished chapters – complete with ‘illustrations’.  i will probably begin writing the words for what’s next and then add the photos in after – that way i’ll know exactly what i want – i hope.  my friend tammy will be the lucky ‘photographer’.  she also got to be the first to read the 3 chapters.

once again, i wanted to have a picture in here.  while i was looking at the daffodils i risked life and limb to cut(they bloom on the side of the very steep lower hill of our property) – i realized they are exactly like the fabrics i use for my ‘yellow’ daffodil kit – not the normal bright, solid yellow variety – these are bigger and more ‘open’ and the petals are creamy yellow and trumpets are brighter yellow.  took a picture to share.

HAPPY SPRING!

daff 2013

i haven’t created any new designs – or even samples, so haven’t written anything in quite some time.  this one is part ‘business’, part ‘personal’.

so, the watsonville show was very good for me – a good bit better than last year.  and it was much needed.  i was also between 2 lovely women – new vendors (for me), and that made it even nicer.  plus, the weather was just about perfect -(sometimes it can be very wet),  and that meant i could park right next to the bldg – which made caring for sophie easy!  and that brings me to the more personal news.

a couple week ago i discovered my dear, little sophie dog has diabetes.  and, something called “cushings disease” – which, believe it or not, i find much more troublesome.  it does explain the hair loss, as well as the total change in her hair in general.  also explains why her tummy still looks ‘fat’ even tho i am feeding her ‘bare minimum’.  and in addition, explains howcome she can no longer jump up, etc.  i don’t yet know the full extent of that one – we are still in the first part of treating the diabetes.  she goes back on thurs. for the whole day.  they do a glucose level ‘curve’ to assure current dosage is correct, etc.  yes, more $$$.

so, all of that on top of the van repairs done before and after the trip to tucson – well, a good show was very welcome!!

as for business ‘news’ – i am finally actively working on ‘the book’, yea!  i think i have the first 3 chapters completed – now it’s time for “lights, camera, action” and a lot more words about actual stitching!!  for that, i need ‘help’ – my friend tammy has volunteered.  so, next ‘play day’ at her house will include that along with fabric dying and long arm quilting!!   i have a ‘turning 20 again’ that i want to use and that means fairly heavy quilting to handle frequent washings.  doesn’t much matter what the quilting looks like.  other than messing around at a show – have never even tried to use a long arm!!  haven’t even quilted on a regular machine!!  don’t expect to be seeing it posted on here! ^_^

ok, just so there is one picture – here’s one of the surprise snow we had recently.  this is how they usually are – very wet and stick to every tiny twig.  usually gone within a few hours.  this lasted over night and into afternoon before the sun finally got to it.  it was very pretty.

snow6

 

 

 

 

 

onward & upward!

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