Wednesday, January 22, 2020

scrap therapy

A couple of days ago I somehow touched a different button in my e-mail program and this picture of my son and I popped up at me as part of some online file.

It must have been eleven or so years ago, and I do remember where we were then. He fell up some steep stairs and badly hurt his shin. I did not even know I had that kind of online file...
That little boy is now over six feet tall - still with those gorgeous eyes - and in hospital right now. Nothing serious, he had thrown up all night and collapsed in the doctor's office and was taken to hospital in an ambulance and is being observed right now. It feels very strange to have an empty house like that. Yes, he has been away before for a few days with his team, or on a school trip. But now it feels like a preparation for the empty nest already, even though it will be about four more years before it happens, and I am not enjoying the thought. That's what happens when you have only one of them, even though there are other moments when Icould smash him against the wall. So between he being in hospital, me going to visit him and trying to enjoy a few days off work I find myself in a bit of limbo. I was hoping to do some sewing but it seems to be very difficult to get into a flow. Again, I am fondling fabric as a sort of color therapy.

Add to that my least favorite kind of weather with a sneaking kind of cold and overcast sky that makes you depressed even before you get up...

Other scrappy activities are knitting projects, including this throw blanket I am still working on.

Now I think I will go to gym class and hope that that will give me some energy to go on tomorrow. The boy is supposed to come back tomorrow, too, so that should be alright.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Fondling Fabric

For our vacation after New Year’s we had originally planned to go and visit my brother-in-law and go cross-country skiing from there. However, not enough snow in the surroundings there, and some special reasons why we figured it would be smarter to not be around him at this time. So we stayed at home. No snow in our surroundings, either, and we ended up doing nothing much at all except for recuperating - my husband from a bad cold and a very very stressful year at work, my son from the first few months of 9th grade and being 14 yrs old, and I myself from back pains that I am trying to battle with an intensification of my yoga (which I started a year ago).

So there was time for knitting and fondling fabric and playing around. Fondling fabric is always good for times like that, even if it’s sorting scraps from ‘light yellow’ heap to ‘nearly medium yellow’ heap or vice versa. But I did not do any sorting, although there would be enough stuff that needs cleaning up and sorting, but I wanted to do something at least sort of creative.
Just after Christmas I had finally received a shipment of plastic templates from DenyseSchmidt which I had found out about, again as so often happens these days, on Instagram. Paid heavy duty on these templates, too, which somehow I had not counted on. The original price, the shipment, and now the duty - these were expensive templates to want to have!
So I have been trying them out. 

Even had a bit of sunshine through my window onto the table... that always helps
to get through these short dark winter days.

I am pretty happy with how easily the curves come together, even with minimal pinning. I had always been very sceptical about prefabricated templates like this and believed in conscientuous pinning when sewing curves that are not entirely improvisational. But these templates I really like in their usability. 

I did not like the way my original thought – lots of red – was turning out - too little contrast, not enough bling -

and have decided to really go for a different mode of color combination. So far there is one block finished in the newly added color, light grey, but there will be more. And I have made myself a set of small paper templates to piece the curve slightly more regular, although I do like the scrappy appearance and will definitely keep including those as well.

At first I wasn’t really planning on anything, only wanted to try these out as a set and figure out whether I would be comfortable about suggesting these to students in my next class, which is coming up on January 31. But now I think I will use this to try and get me back into a sewing mood. No serious intentions included, but just sitting at the machine and putting scraps together, using up some unfinished tops or orphaned pieces might be a good way to start the year in terms of textiles. After all, I only need to go back to work on Thursday.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Should I ....?

A few weeks ago the instagram grapevine gave me the news that quilts of Gee’s Bend will be shown at the Turner Contemporary in Margate. A huge temptation! I love the books, 

and have found especially the first one very inspirational. And I did not get to see the quilts when they were being shown at Ste. Marie-aux-Mines a few years ago, it was one of the very few times recently that I did not get to go.
And I remembered my little thing with the Anni Albers exhibition – to which I had wanted to go, even considering a ecologically sinfull one-day-trip by plane. Until I found out that that same exhibition had been shown in Düsseldorf. And I had never even heard about it. So I punished myself for not being aware of it by not allowing myselft to go. (I do have the catalogue – but I still regret not having seen it.) So this time – look at the calendar. Try to figure out… It would have been possible, take the train (not even the plane thing to prohibit a trip) through Paris, change onto the EuroStar, get off in Kent and then head over to the Thames. Chrisse would have joined me, even. It would have been possible to do. And it was a very strong temptation.
But it would have been expensive, as the train is not one that offers really cheap fares for this special trip. It would have been a hassle, because during the time when the exhibition is on I don’t have any official vacation. I don’t know the hospital I will be working at during those weeks yet, and while I have meanwhile figured out how to manage a day or two off according to my personal plans with the hospital I have been working at up to now, I can’t say how it will be there. I would have needed three days at least for the trip, and then it would have been a strenuous entertainment, no extra time to explore the area. Perhaps it would have been possible to arrange it, on the last weekend of the duration of the show, however, some uncertainties remain, and it would mean I would have been gone for my son’s birthday and for mine.
In the end I decided I won’t go. I will stick with the books. And perhaps go to Margate at some other time, with a bit more leisure to explore. It just most probably won’t be a quilt exhibition I will go to see.

Happy New Year to all my readers, thanks for following and for coming back to read. I hope I will be able to post more regularly this year than I have been doing during the last year.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Pulling a plug

In April I came across the hashtag #temperaturequilt on Instagram and started one as well. Late for the year, and in typical Uta-fashion slightly overcomplicated. The half-square triangles for lowest and highest temperature of the day, that is pretty straight forward. But because the block I had chosen has more pieces, these needed to be filled as well. The additional triangles I chose to be the average temperatures of the four days represented by the four squares, again high and low, and the large triangles were the longterm average temperatures. Great idea – but required a lot of calculations. You can read here how I was faring with it along the way.
I fell behind, I caught up, and then I fell behind again. As the year is now coming to a close I have been seein nice photos of themperature quilts as people are nearing completion – I especially liked @flourishingpalms’ recent picture - and my heart was sinking. I knew I was never going to make it by the end of the year and I certainly did not want to take this project over into the next year. But I went ahead and started another catch-up. Then I realized that I must have made some mistake in the beginning in calculating how many blocks there were going to be. So I decided to just make the number of blocks I had come up with in the first place. Then I took a few liberties using up orphaned half triangle squares that were still lying around, but I kept to the averages in the single triangles and the large ones. 

Finished the number of blocks, started putting them together. And realized that there was never a clear idea about how big the final block was going to be, there would have been a lot of adjustments to make – or not matching points. 

And I was getting more and more annoyed with the result. Nice color combination, and it probably would have looked good if it had gone on to the end of the year with really getting into colder temperatures and different fabrics. But it is not my style of quilt and...
This afternoon I pulled the plug, I am not going to finish it, and I have already put the fabrics away, so there is no real way back. Also I am debating whether I will actually try a temperature quilt for next year. Having seen the results is impressive indeed, but in a way they all look similar in the end, and certainly making one is not going to increase my awareness about climate change and the resulting necessities in any way. I was considering making one where I would juxtapose two years, namely the coming year, where I live, and the year and place where I was born. But it seems impossible to get the data of daily temperatures without signing up and paying for some weather service (and I don’t even know whether they will actually be able to supply the data). I was talking to my husband about that and he thought I was completely nuts, “and what are you trying to show, isn’t this overly ideological?” So I am undecided as of yet.

I also called a finish to another project which, however, is at a slightly better stage and can be entered in a challenge in a couple of weeks, all it needs is the closing of one seam right now and photos taken.

And I have decided to change plans with yet another piece that’s on the design wall. 

I had intended to enter it in Australia, but am finding it extremely difficult to fit the pieces into the required size of 90 x 90 cm. 

So I will not enter, just let it have the size it wants to, and then we will see how it develops.

I am a bit at a loss with my quiltmaking. With the change in my life that leaves me little time for creativity, the lfow is gone. I was aware that would happen, but it is a bit sad to feel it now. Although I did have an idea this morning – which I might pursue. Perhaps that was the motivation behind these decisions this afternoon, ge things out of the way…?
Merry Christmas to you all.