Friday, October 30, 2015

High Noon Abstract in October


















Unfortunately lots of things had to be done in the last minute before I left, and something went wrong with uploading the last 10 pictures as I was trying to schedule this post ahead of time. Now I am working from a different computer and don't have those other pictures on the camera anymore - so you will have to do with these 18 pictures for the month.
I am taking the opportunity to alter my rules for the remainder of the year: November and December will be 'Abstractions from New Zealand', so at least the pictures posted in December will have been taken in November.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Preparations and ...

As I am preparing for my departuer on Wednesday evening I keep encountering more and more things that need to be done and finished and taken care of before I leave that I am beginning to wonder whether I will actually make it to the plane on time!
This night's change of the clock from daylight saving time to standard European time did not help. I never like the switch, no matter in which direction. I love daylight saving time in the summer, and if it were for me we could just stick with that. It doesn't really matter in the winter as it is dark and awful anyway, so give every country their light evenings in the summer as much as possible...
Why do we have to switch back and forth all the time, twice a year upsetting everybody's inner clock? As much as I am a supporter of the idea of Europe and a Europen Union, I don't see why such a vast area has to tick to the same time code. They have five different time zones in the US and it works, which is one country alone, why can't more than 28 countries have three or four different time zones?!? And not to mention Russia - they have even more!
Today I woke up early even by old summer daylight saving time's standards and went down to the kitchen to bake for my son's basket ball game. But I did not need that extra hour for that, I would have been finished in time even without that.
Yesterday - as I still haven't actually entered my migration quilt for the SAQA show although I have been meaning to do so - I had the idea I could also enter that quilt I made for the 'my place', because it fits the topic of migration just as well. So I kept debating with myself - should I, or should I not? Will it reduce the chances of the first quilt, what if the 'my place' quilts gets chosen instead of the one I really want in there...? An hour ago I decided I will enter them separately as I had intended, final.
But as the hours are ticking away, there is still so much to do.
How do other people ever manage to go on holiday? I think I am really doing tooooo many different things. I need to cut down. And being away will be a good period of withdrawal! I will not be available under my normal phone number, my husband has ordered me to be offline for WhatsApp, a friend of mine is doing the e-mail account for the refugee volunteers. And I have already said good-bye to them yesterday.
But I am looking forward to tonight - my son and I will be playing a wonderful board game with friends of ours, Tac, which we got to know during a family summer holiday two or three years ago and which we don't play frequently enough.
And then there's the wash and I should do some cleaning and....

Monday, October 19, 2015

Ten more days...

After a very hot and long summer we are now experiencing an unusually cold and grey October. I hate it, when the light is so diffused that you can’t even really tell whether it’s a glorious instance of turn of foliage or not. 

It never gets really light during the day, either. Definitely a situation to get depressed!
But I have only ten days to go before I step on a plane and head far southeast. I am so ready to leave, I can’t even express the feelings adequately. My husband claims the two of them will get along fine, my son will go to school, basketball practice and music lessons, while I will evade that most dreadful month of German winters you can possibly imagine, November. Although right now it does feel as they moved it up by a month to make sure I get a large enough dose of that feeling of being trapped under a grey and yucky blanket above. Now the countdown is on, and just a few days ago I have even started thinking about what I am going to do on the trip!
Before I leave I have a few more things to do, but already I feel as if I am successfully wrapping up and getting into the mood.
Yesterday I finished stitching of the quilt I wanted to make for SAQA’ “My corner of the World” call-for-entry. 

Backside view of one of the words included.
I had to revert to my small, old Bernina, because the 820 once again is giving me a hard time, and when I have to work on the small one, stitching the text items with the frame is difficult, you have to make sure that the area where you want to stitch is close to the side of the frame, as the entire frame won't fit under the machine:

Now all I need to do for this one is to finish the binding, take it to the photographer and make sure I take a photo file with me to finish the entry from the other side of the world.
I also finished a longarm-order for a customer and mounted another one which will definitely still get finished before I leave.

And I am preparing the November-collection of the fabric club, which I will dye, cut and pack to have it ready to ship when I return. So I am still pretty busy, but it feels very easy going right now.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Book Appreciation, part 2

During the past month I was given two wonderful books by friends, and want to post about my process of appreciation here.
The first one I was given was the newly published book by Kathleen Loomis, who had been writing about the process of making the book frequently on her blog, and which I have recently written about here.. The second one is by The Pixeladies, whom I have taken the photo editing online class from earlier this year, and whom I finally met in person when they came to teach in France this past month.

Their book is called “Furoshiki Fabric Wraps” and the Pixeladies sent it by mail, after I had returned home, it arrived last week. The book itself was wrapped in a piece of silk. Due to complete ignorance on my side and lack of understanding as to what grand addition to my life it was I was getting there, I thought ‘that’s a good idea’, unwrapped the thing and never took a photo of what it looked like before I opened the present.
This is the book, and what it was wrapped in:

And this is a close-up of what the book looks like, unwrapped (alas):

When I finally started leafing through the book in more detail last Sunday morning as I was having breakfast, I was immediately captivated. And sooooooooooooo regretful that I had not taken a photo of the stage it arrived in... but I managed to remember enough about the process of unpacking that I think the type of wrapping must have been the "Two Knot Wrap" as featured on the front of the book cover (and explained in more detail on page 45). Nobody was home, so even during breakfast I started thinking about what I could wrap to try out some of these wonderful ways of creating packages. (I've always been a fan of Jeanne-Claude and Christo, but this is closer to my own sphere of competence!)
Reusing the silk scarf the book itself had come in was the easiest way of getting hold of a Furoshiki, and as it was a bit too small to do a ‘Two Bottle Wrap’ with two fully-sized water bottles I thought two empty marmelade jars which were sitting on the kitchen counter waiting to be finally taken down to the cellar would do just as well.

waiting to be wrapped...

roll ...

and wriggle, and tie a knot - finished!

Reading the instructions gives you  the feeling that at least one of the Pixeladies is sitting next to you in their distinct manner of explaining – a Furoshiki is easy to do! Once you’ve done one, you want to try more. At least that happened with me. 
Here’s my last piece of shibori dyeing (as in both meanings of the word – my most recent, and the last one I will do, as I have resolved that, as much as I adore the results of good shibori dyeing, making it is just not for me – but that really is another story), 

Practice makes perfect, but that's not for me+shibori.

which seemed a qualified candidate, large enough for two books, to try out the “Two Book Wrap”. As both Pixeladies and I are members of SAQA (Kris being the curren president, too) I figured two issuses of SAQA’s annual portfolio of Juried Artist Members could take some wrapping.

And this is what they look like wrapped:

What a fun and interesting book. Reduces waste, may transform the wrapping into the gift, and they are so easy to do! This is a joint picture of my first two Furoshikis (hope that’s a correct enough way of forming a plural as my knowledge of Japanes is rather limited...):

Certainly a wonderful present to receive, and wrapped in a Furoshiki, that is in itself, in a way! Thank you very much to the Pixeladies – and won’t you need a great gift for a fabric-loving friend any time soon?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Book appreciation part 1: Pattern-Free Quilts by Kathleen Loomis

Early September I received the surprise shipment of Kathy Loomis’ newly published book “Pattern-Free Quilts – Riffs on the Rail Fence Block” in the mail. When I started looking through it in more detail I wished I had more time right now to whip out a few pieces of fabric and simply play around, varying a bit further on that topic of 'riffing from a set motif'. I’ve been working ‘freely’ on my own for a long time, but although I sort of knew everything Kathy wrote about, it certainly sent my mind spinning about all the other things one could do with this pattern (or many others).
I would like to give you a short introduction to the book here, because I know that many quilters are always on the lookout for new ways of being inspired. And obviously sometimes it does not take a whole complicated design process, but even only reading about playing around and trying out some things and an overseeable number of variations is enough to get you going!

the front cover

the back cover

One thing I really loved about the book was that while I was reading it, it always felt like I was hearing Kathy’s voice. Now I know that I am privileged in that I have become friends with her and repeatedly got to spend extended periods of time with her, and this is not a position that every reader might find herself in. But I am fully convinced that there is so much of Kathy’s personality present in this book, it is almost as good as having her near you! (But only close, almost.)

The contents page already is a sight to look at:

Kathy walks you through the process of loosening oneself up enough to start playing around, to gain confidence in your own abilities of independently developing your own design by slowly varying one step after the other. An interesting analogy is her comparison of quiltmaking to cooking – perhaps not so surprising if you know that she also writes a blog about food and cooking. When you learned how to cook you might have first learned to do one recipe. And as you were growing comfortable with that one recipe you started changing individual ingredients step by step, until you came out with a completely different dish, yet you were in a way still ‘using’ the same first recipe...

Cutting a wege-shaped rail fence block ad libitum!

Through the stages of varying widths of strips, numbers of strips, shapes of strips, colour choice and shapes of blocks the book contains a whole course in ‘free quilt design’.  Several of the quilts shown in pictures make it hard for the viewer to recognize an underlying rail fence block. That’s successful liberation from a motif.

From the Gallery section: two quilts varying on the theme of rail fence block

In a way it made me wish I were at an ‘earlier’ stage in my own development of quilt maker. It would be fun to freshly embark on that road under this guidance, and I recommend this book to anybody who is willing to loosen up! 

Friday, October 2, 2015