Saturday, May 11, 2019

Little escap(ad)e: Stockholm

We are having another reunion this weekend for our year as exchange students in Charlotte, NC (as in 2013 and 2017) and Thomas had asked me whether I would like to come to Stockholm two days ahead of time to hang out together without the others a little bit because we haven't seen much of each other lately. So on Wednesday I traveled to Stockholm (delays, canceled train, security measures on board the plane which was a reason for late boarding) and we met at the airport and took the bus into town. Thomas had taken care of the hotel booking on board the former yacht Lady Hutton, which is now the hotel Mälardrottningen and well to be recommended for a special kind of hotel feeling! We had a room with bunk beds, but if you look at the website there might be slightly more luxurious suites available, and it is in walking distance of the Old Town.
We spent one morning at the Abba museum which is pretty good, given the fact that this is a group without any scandals or breaking news during their years of success. Just a bit of story of how the they got together, how they took their first steps, then a lot of success, and how they are now 'taking a break away from each other'.

I really liked this re-creation of the view from the little hut on an island in the sounds outside Stockholm where the guys wrote many of their songs.

In the afternoon we went to the Fotografiska museum, which currently has 4 different exhibitions going on, namely by Jessica Silversaga, Rahul Talukder, Jesper Waldersten and Alison Jackson.
Rahul Talukder photographed a whole series on the collapse of the clothing factory in Bangladesh with over 1,000 people dead and his works are very moving. Jesper Waldersten has an interesting kind of humor, but it helps if you know a little bit of Swedish for some of the pieces. This one is in English, though:

Jesper Waldersten, in his exhibition "All Over"
And I was fascinated by the simplicity of this one.

Jesper Waldersten, in his exhibition "All Over"

The restaurant on the top floor has a magnificent view across the water to the Old Town and after a little bit of waiting we even managed to secure ourselves seats right in front of the window.

The next day Thomas and I took a boat tour through the islands outside of Stockholm and picked our dream mansions. This would be mine (although it is not so much a mansion):

Stockholm is a city on the water, and reflections abound, especially when the sun is out, so I am back to taking photos of reflections on water.

And amongst other inspirational sights,

some found art is around as well.

By now the others have arrived from Norway, China, Venezuela, and the real reunion is on. So good to have friends around the world, and reasons to go somewhere to see something new!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Matters of Mending - self-experiment, part 2

When I went on vacation early April, I took a bit of work with me. For one thing, I had to finish the article on and translation of one chapter from Katrina Rodabaugh’s book “Mending Matters”,
which will be published in the German Patchwork Guild’s magazine in June. As I had started before,
I wanted to do a few sample/self experiments before the publication in the magazine (although not before it was being sent off to the editor…), so I also packed two pairs of pants that desperately needed mending, this time my own. 
The one I started with was a light colored pair in jeans style, which I have had for several years. And, although I would never have called it a ‘favorite’ pair of pants of mine, obviously I had worn it enough to get it to the point where it was thinning in seriously important places (i.e. interior upper thighs). They hadn’t been worn through entirely, but it was getting dangerously thin. And some fraying at the back of the seam of the right leg, and a bit of a hole on the inside of the bottom leg.

Basically my thoughts behind taking this pair of pants to be an object for my self-experiment were that, because I did not consider these pants anything like a favorite, it wouldn’t hurt terribly if the mending didn’t turn out right, or did not feel good wearing them after mended. Now I know, a big part of Katrina’s philosophy is to not throw clothes away, and I wasn’t planning to do so, since of course I was expecting this to be a very successful experiment. But if it hadn’t turned out totally successful, the tears on my side wouldn’t have been flowing for very long.
So I started on the frayed backside seam and - for lack of sashiko thread, which Katrina uses -  stitched over that with one of my hand-dyed threads from when I was still dyeing threads with the fabric club.

Then I went on to fix the small hole on the inside of the leg, and that turned out nicely indeed.

First I stitched a piece of light-weight linen onto the inside of the leg.

Then I flipped the extending part of the linen to the outside, affixed it and...

then the sides of the mending fabric were secured with buttonhole stitch.

And then I took up the challenge of the thinning place on one side of the upper thighs. Of course, I had not really brought the exact right fabric to use. That linen I was using for the hole was a scrap I found in the box for "A Scrap a Day", that I was also working on during those days. So I cut up a longish strip of linen and placed three pieces of it next to each other on the inside.

Then I stitched them in both directions, first in one direction, then perpendicular to the first direction, and it turned out like this.
One direction only, on the inside.

One direction only on the outside.

Two directions done, on the outside.

Can't take a picture of myself from behind, so I don't know how much you actually see of the mend.It is a rather large area indeed, and basically the whole pair of pants needs reinforcement. So it is a question of dedication in terms of how much time does one want to put into a single pair of pants to prolong its lifetime... I guess I just will keep working on this one as long as it takes.
Stitching the mending fabric into the leg from the inside was a bit of a nuisance, having to turn the whole piece, trying not to prick oneself  with the pins that were keeping everything in place etc. But overall it worked well, and when I tried it on it seemed to fit alright. And the next day, when I wore it, it felt quite alright. So I figured I would probably go ahead and mend the other leg back home a few days later, too, when I had more fabric at hand that was of the correct weight.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Many years later...

Where exactly is the line between naming a quilt that is not finished (yet) a WIP or a UFO? This is a philosophical question of utmost importance, I think. Certainly, when you know you won’t finish it because you just don’t like what you have done, then it could be considered a UFO – but wouldn’t it be more honest to call it a Never-to-be-finished something, or an error?
How many projects do we all have in our boxes, drawers, bags that we don’t even exactly remember anymore but still sort of assume we will finish some day? For a while now I have been pulling bits and pieces from my boxes which are more or less finished fragments, leftovers and cut-offs that are neither enough to make something from (except for little bags and stuff, which is definitely not my thing) nor interesting enough to pursue as a work that might be finished eventually. The idea is that perhaps I could just throw them together and make a very wild picknick blanket. But I might also send them to a group of women who are making cushions for cancer patients and who have asked my for scraps and leftovers. 

But those pieces that one still wants to finish… I have been working on a top for years which was inspired by my absolute favorite quilt I ever saw in an exhibition in Raleigh, NC that used the Underground Railroad/Jacob’s Ladder pattern. (See a picture of the flyer here. That's the only picture I have of that quilt.) Of course, I would have wished to make a top that was as striking as my favorite, but as that one lived through the scarceness of fabrics used, I know nothing I make will ever be as good.
So for my top I  could choose colors, a layout, use my hand-dyed fabrics, and a piece of a blue multi-colored fabric dyed by Heide Stoll-Weber. It was meticulously planned, certainly an activity that is not my usual way of preparing or sewing. 

I numbered the blocks, I precut the pieces, I even marked and hand-cut them with plastic templates, no rotary cutting. And I spent a long time piecing the individual blocks, with long intermissions, periods of failing motivation, other things that needed doing. 

(at the end, of course, I was surprised by how my prechosen fabrics looked together, but luckily it was not an unpleasant surprise.)

Finally, it was finished – and I realized that several blocks had faults in the set up of the inner four-square-arrangements. 

I spent at least a year agonizing over whether I should take those sections apart and fix that. I finally did… But in a manner that made sure thatnot all the inner square arrangments had the same orientation, allowing for more variability. Then  I realized I wanted the pattern to extend out into a border and spent probably another six months before getting around to that step. 
Quilting on the longarm was easy after that – finished well before Christmas last year, and I let myself be inspired by a pantograph I had bought at the over-motivated days of my longarm acquisition, before I realised that pantographs are simply not my thing. So I freearmed a similar pattern.

Today I finally finished putting on the binding...

Nothing, compared to the inspiration, but not at all bad for a finally finished project of many years that is simply a quilt to be a quilt to snuggle up under.
Not a WIP anymore. Whew. So … what WIP is next?