Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Finished the last piece for Prague Patchwork Meeting

On Thursday next week I will be heading to Prague with a whole stack of quilts from my group "International Threads". We have been working to assignments given by the members of the group in turn for about one and a half years.
We will be having our first appearance as a group, and I finally finished my last piece for the show.

This is a view of the stack of quilts I will be carrying:

My last piece, which I have already given a sneak view of here is now finished. It was made to fulfill the assignment 'proof of sketch', which is a difficult one for me, as I believe my sketching activities are not intensive or elaborate. Well, it turns out they are more elaborate than I have cared to admit to myself, and they have increased with the assignments in my abstraction workshop with Lisa Call. So I was finally able to sit down and do this one.
Here is the sketch:

It is a line tracing of a photo of water swirls I once saw in a book on water. I used solufix and avalon film, arranged a lot of scraps, stitched them all together, and then dissolved the solubles:

This is the finished piece:

Strictly speaking it is not a quilt, as it has only two layers, and they are not even stitched together except for at the top/sleeve. But there is no rule in the group that it has be quilted, so I think I am safe.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Two ticks off the list

Sunday was a very busy day at the fair, and I was satisfied with the results.

Everything out of the car, waiting to be set up,
two more hours to go before the show opens.

I am always happy if I get one more new subscription to the fabric club, and that happened. However, I think I need to branch out on the darker colors. Except for the fact that the loading capacity of our car is at its limit...

My most reliable helper, Hildegard - usually she helps
me roll the fabrics onto the cardboard - guarding
the stand for me while I take a quick trip to the Ladies'.

So I have taken out a few of the lighter pieces of colors which seem to be in lesser demand, and will overdye them, to begin with. I have seven weeks before Karlsruhe, the next occasion where I will be selling.
I was amazed at how tired I was Sunday night. But perhaps it's understandable, not only after that week - on the day itself I was up before six, got back home at seven in the evening, with lots of boxes of fabrics unpacked, repacked, ... I went to bed at the same time as my son (who was annoyed that I would not read out aloud for him that night).

Yesterday I finished a 'secret' piece, and finally got to work on my first Journal Quilt. Just before the closing of the January folder - I even tried to upload it this morning. I couldn't verify whether this was successful, but I will be informed through the notification which I receive by e-mail.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Where have all the hours gone?

Just in case someone has been wondering: yes, I am still alive, and no, I have not abandoned this blog. It was with dismay that I realized this morning that it has been nine days since my last entry. I haven't been idle for one minute - but what have I been doing?
For one thing, life changed in that at last a group of volunteers has got together in our town and is now trying to help the refugees from several African countries, Syria, and Russia who have been arriving in our town, distributed by the authorities according to some bureaucratic rule and with only a minimum of help or orientation. I am part of this group of volunteers, and suddenly I find myself teaching German to a Syrian university student who is more than eager to pick up his studies as quickly as possible. Last week he came to our house three times, and it was five times this week - that adds up! I will also be taking a two-year old child to the doctor next week, the appointment had to be made, plus calls to obtain a medical insurance guarantee form from the authorities... But I have also been invited to a wonderfully tasting Syrian dinner

I don't think I've had such good food in a long time!
M first real Syrian dinner, cooked by Anas.

and played cards with them all. I have learned the Arabic words for green, red, blue and yellow - the color in UNO - and forgotten them again. Learning a foreign language is difficult, indeed. And being confronted with a totally different kind of society, far away from home without a decent chance to go back in peace must be even more difficult. And I haven't even heard any of their stories, right now we are only dealing with day-to-day matters here!
Time is even scarcer now than it was before, but I do think this is necessary.

But I have been doing things in the textile realm.
I tried my hand at a bit of wool dyeing, in a friend's studio. Another friend of hers was there , too, and we could easily make out that we are the two most opposite types of dyers you can imagine. Sophia meticulously painted her skein of wool with a brush, . I, too, had mixed the colours to do that. But when I realized that I had made a mistake by adding something like 6 ml of black instead of 3 ml I went 'back' to my kind of dyeing. Put the skein in and liberally pour colour over it - and wait for the surprise result in the end.



We tried a method in the micro-wave oven, and although I liked the speed with which it was finished, I am not so sure whether I like the way the wool changed. But I haven't tried out the method in the pot yet, so I can't say whether I would like that method's results better. I do like the colours I had mixed:

This is the finished lot:

I am still debating with myself whether I should do more wool dyeing or not. My mind keeps changing about it - and I can't say right now what I will do.

I have also been working on my final piece for the International Threads exhibition in Prague.

I am finally doing something in the techniques I learned at the workshop with Jan & Jean last June - and strictly speaking it is not a quilt, as it won't be layered. But I think it is going to be really good, although you can't really tell from these pictures, where the avalon hasn't been dissolved yet.

And I have been dyeing the March collection for the fabric club, after my fabric finally (!) arrived. The last pieces were ironed today, I will be able to take it to the fair on Sunday and then ship it next week, juhuu! (Colours will be officially revelaed on Sunday.)
'On the side' I kept throwing in a few more of my erratic pieces of Shibori experiments:

The piece on the left is the piece that was yellow above -
the results of the two clamped and tied pieces can be seen below.

I had hoped for clearer circles

This one is all blurry - 
I haven't undone the pebbles yet, so don't know the results of those yet. I'm not too thrilled with the two shown above. Perhaps my expectations would have been met better if I had used pre-soda-ash-soaked fabric? I think I'm getting to the point where I might decide to end my dabbling with shibori... not my type of dyeing! But we'll see.
I also photographed all the remaining snow-dyed fabrics from this winter, but as I haven't had a chance to upload them to the website, I won't show any of them here yet. But you could come to Erding, Germany, this Sunday and take a look!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Learning to listen to that gut feeling.

I have repeatedly noticed that I have a strong gut feeling about things in my life, but it has taken me a very long time to really listen to that feeling and give it time to tell me what it wants to say. This feeling can be a strange reaction towards a person I am meeting for the first time. Or a feeling that something is not right as it should be. And as I said - it has not been my strong side to listen to it. But I am learning!
For example two weeks ago, on the second day of the month I thought I better check on my fabric shipment for this month's fabric club. So I sent an inquiring message, and true enough - I got a surprise message back that they did not 'have anything in their system' about me having ordered anything. Great! The fact that I remember full well that I wrote them a message indicating exactly how many bolts I wanted sent every other month doesn't help in that situation. They immediately sent the last two remaining bolts on stock, and I could get started at least, as I had two and a half bolts still sitting in the basement. And they promised that a new shipment would be coming in this week, Tuesday or Wednesday and that they would send my bolts out right away. I haven't heard from them yet and am getting just a little bit worried...
I am going to a fair on the 22nd and had wanted to be done with the dyeing before that, so I could have the brand-new selection there with me at the stand. Even if they send tomorrow, it will be a tight fit. Let's hope for the best!

Meanwhile I have been turned down from the Australian Quilt Challenge, so don't need to attach a velcro strip to the tunnel any more. Trying to look at it from the bright side, although I was a bit disappointed at first. And I am working on the very last of the smaller quilts for the International Threads exhibition in Prague. Just a few more weeks before we go, but I am pretty positive I will get it finished:

Ironing orange scraps

I bought these silk ribbons several years ago at an end-of-store sale,
and now they are coming in handy. Never let anything go to waste!

Putting some of the techniques to use which I learned
at Jan + Jean's workshop last year
(I'm signed up for another one with them next year! Can't wait!)

It won't be a quilt proper, i.e. not three-layers-stitched-together. But that's just as well, a piece of textile art.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Your last assignment is due tomorrow...

I have been participating in a ten week workshop with Lisa Call, “Abstraction”, whose work I have admired since I first saw some on slides and  heard about her. Although we have one more week to go before the real end, we received our weekly reminder-email today with a slight difference included in the message. Usually it read “Your assignment is due tomorrow at 5 p.m. Mountain”, and this time the little word ‘last’ was included. No more assignment this coming week.

It has been an interesting experience taking this class. First of all I learned that I don’t seem to be the type to take online classes. Despite that fact that I had thought these were ‘quieter’ months in the year, thus very well suited to take a class, set aside some time for my learning benefit, I found it extremely difficult to arrange/change my schedule so that reading the three-times-a-week mails on various stages of art history concerning abstraction in art, listening to the lecture, and finding time for the almost weekly assignments would be possible. This is bad news, for me, as we live in a pretty remote area, and if I don’t do good with online classes I really have to figure out what I am going to do. It means I would have to be VERY VERY strict with myself if I do that again, to make it worth the while spending money on online classes – no matter whether I am talking about a class in the realm of quilting, or any other online/long distance class (I’d been considering various options). But I think already I am a person with a strong tendency to be rather strict with herself. And to be honest, I really don’t want to be even stricter with myself.
So I need to travel to places to take live classes with the real people really there. Which, of course, means heavy organizing at home before I go, but once I’m gone the two guys usually manage pretty well. And when I return they appreciate me being back a lot, an additional plus in the weighing of it all. Of course, add travel expenses to workshop fees, and most likely hotel costs – uuugh.
Nevertheless, what I really like about real classes with the real people there, teacher plus other students, is the interaction. With all of them. I never got completely comfortable with doing an “exchange” about homework/questions mentioned in the e-mails in a facebook group, no matter how private it might have been. But doing this with people I don’t know at all – it just did not turn me on. There was one person in the class whom I actually know personally, but she was very quiet, perhaps because of the language, as she is German.
So I learned a lot about me and taking online classes. And am a bit annoyed at myself about this, because it feels as if I am robbing myself of chances that are out there, and could be used, if only I got my act together...?
Nevertheless – I learned a lot in class about abstraction, and how to work on it, and which procedures I like, which I should look into a bit more, which exercises I should do over and over and over...

Oh, and yes, I finished this week’s last assignment, one day earlier than the deadline. Because it is one of the pieces that will be ‘doubling’ in function, I won’t show it here in full, but you can get a view of the back:

I may tell a little more about things I did in class later on.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

High Noon Abstract in February










With February being the shortest month in the year, in a way it is unfair to the pictures taken in other months - the ones taken in February have a higher chance of being selected into the 'top ten' that will be pulished on the blog. But then we had quite a number of grey days, so it was difficult to find good photo opportunities. Perhaps that evens it out - nor will the pictures feel the injustice, I hope...