Wednesday, May 24, 2017

trying to boost creativity

This week should have been the week of official decision with regard to the Senegalese members of the class I am teaching in, but we haven't heard anything yet. Tomorrow is a bank holiday, no classes nor mail, so the waiting continues until at least Friday. I am not an optimist by birth, and it is getting harder and harder to bear the tension!
In this situation I have actually mailed my SAQA Benefit Auction donation, although the first attempt at registering my contribution floundered. Filling in an 'x' in the 'State'-slot of the entry form did the trick, which I found out through the helpful comment of Jen Solon at SAQA. Thank you, Jen.  I entered my quilt in "Made in Europe II" and really liked the size requirement. I was a part in setting the size, as it was decided on when I was still a co-rep, but I had never made a quilt in exactly that size before, it was mostly chosen for transportability. So after entering the professional photo I am actually putting on the sleeve today as I understand notification of acceptance might mean having to send it the next day.

As I am waiting for the verdict it feels a bit like my creativity has dried up. Gone are the times when I was bursting with ideas that were asking to be turned into a quilt. Perhaps it is also a matter of having enough time and leisure to sit down and let thoughts flow and threads and fabrics get together... but it is getting a bit tedious right now.
I am keeping my hand occupied by knitting a scarf (that was originally begun as a jacket, as I wrote about on my German blog here). Another little burst of creativity happened when I managed to (almost) ruin a newly bought T-Shirt: I have a strong adversion against any kind of tags inside the shirts, but when I removed them from this one, I wasn't careful enough and slightly nipped into the jersey. As I said, the T-Shirt is new, and I did not want to throw it out right away. So I sewed one of the many many sew-on-sew-off squares over the little hole on the side to cover it up. One of my students saw that and suggested that I add some more in other places, and I did (so to be honest: this burst of creativity wasn't even my own idea...).

I have worn it like this today and nobody said anything. So it doesn't seem to be so outrageous as I first thought it might be. But I quite like the look. Might be an idea how to pep up pieces of clothing that have grown boring. Or attracted some spots, as in bing worn when dyeing...
Yes, dyeing - I am in the midst of dyeing May's collection, much more on time than I had been for several months.
The next days will hopefully bring the end of waiting...

Monday, May 15, 2017

ooops - Benefit Auction Time!

We had a very warm stretch in early April, which resulted in all the trees getting ready to bloom about three weeks early. Then frost came, a lot of the buds froze, and now we are actually having the kind of weather that is typically called ‘April weather’. In May, when it should be warmer, more springy - in any case, I must have somewhere lost track of time. Yesterday I remembered, hey- it’s May, wasn’t there usually something going on with Benefit Auction for SAQA? During the last years I would be busy at this time of year already, trying to scan the growing list of donated quilts on SAQA's website to have an overview about how many had been donated from Europe/MIddle East, so I could post them in the countdown on the blog just before the auction started. 
For several years I have myself donated a piece, they all sold, and I didn’t mean to let this row break. But until yesterday I had not given a single thought to that topic. Or laid a conscious hand onto the quilt. Missed the Early Bird deadline, for sure, it had passed me by completely.

So as I was ironing yesterday, trying out little things and color combinations, my eyes fell onto three smaller quilts that were lying in the shelf opposite my ironing board. Right size they would have been. But neither of them represents me in the stage I am in right now, nor do I find them convincing. (Yes, the inner critic is a very strong presence once a quilt is finished …) But time is short - the quilt must have been received by June 1st, that means it must go into the post QUICKLY!

I have been working on something which should have been a quilt for an International Threads challenge, ‘hand stitched’. It was supposed to have been called ‘Waste No Thread’, and in it I was using up all cut-off threads of my recent pieces, longarm custom quilting, longarm my quilting, two pieces from the ‘text messages’ series that I finished recently (yes, I have been able to finish things, although there is a certain lack of ideas as to what to start on now). For the International Threads challenge it would still have taken a lot of work. For a 12" x 12", however... it was almost done!

So I set about using up the remaining pieces of thread I had assembled, almost finished that yesterday. The last pieces were added this morning as I was listening to the radio, and then I also managed to do the facing and tunnel right away. 

Now all it needs is a sign with the title - haven't decided on that one yet. Should it stay "Waste No Thread!", or should it be "Play of Lines XXXX: Crossing the Red Line"? I will sleep on that for a night.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Into May

On May 1st our open-air swimming pool opened, and I made a point of actually dipping into the water. At 14 degrees centigrade that was not a prolonged swim, but today’s 18 degrees already felt much better. I actually swam 1200 metres and declare the summer swimming season officially opened.

We also pre-celebrated our May-clustered family celebrations on May 1st, because we knew there wouldn’t be a whole lot of time on either of the birthdays, nor on the wedding anniversary. The boy will have a proper birthday party in a couple of weeks with his friends, the mother just sort of skipped her birthday as she was driving and setting up a stall on the day proper.

Meanwhile, I have been to and come back from the Nadelwelt in Karlsruhe, where I sold fabrics, 

made contact with Leni Wiener, who will be featured in one of the next issues of the German Patchwork Guild’s magazine, and have gone back to the sewing machine. Little stuff only at this point, but my entry for Made in Europe II is also in the line, all it needs is a facing and tunnel, and then it can go to the photographer, and I might actually make it on time. No pictures right now, as jurying is still coming up.

Teaching at the school has been very intensive again - we are waiting for work permits for several of the students who are from countries that are being considered ‘safe countries of origin’ and for which Germany’s government is pulling extra efforts to have people deported back. It’s not been an easy time for either these students or the other teachers and me, and two of the students have given up hope. They have moved on - and it was very sad to suddenly have empty spaces in the classroom. Others are still holding out, but hope is fading, additional reprimatory action is taking place these days, and we still don’t know what will happen. In the whole context of this, I don’t know whether I will be teaching at that school again next year. If only a part of the class - those who are ‘proper political asylum seekers’ - gets a permit, I don’t think I will continue. But as long as we don’t know, nothing has been decided yet. I admit I am torn - I love working there, I love teaching these people and getting to know them. But it has really interfered heavily with my quilt making, and it has taken such a huge emotional toll that I am not sure, how I want the situation to continue. Of course, next year, there won't be anybody from Senegal in the class, the situation will be entirely different in that respect. I don't know how the class would have been this year without the people from Senegal in there, either, but I am very grateful to have met and got to know them. It's just a bit difficult to be a witness to their struggles, hopes, and problems, and not being able to really help them with their personal situations...

Monday, May 1, 2017

Time flies like an arrow, and fruit flies like a banana...

That is one of the jokes I used to hear from my boss in former times, when I was still working as a linguist at the university... Sometimes it would be abbreviated to "Time flies like a banana", and then what? I knew it had been a while since I'd written my last post, but two weeks... has it really been that long? What have I been doing with myself?
I can assure you I have been busy. And I have been quilting. And dyeing. And teaching. And trying to figure out an almost twelve-year-old's mind... And not taking the time to sit down for the blog, obviously.

I have been working on a quilt for the German Patchwork Guild's AGM, coming up in June, for an exhibition of the members of the board in which they are supposed to prove that they can, indeed, quilt. This exhibition was initiated by our president Barbara after she had been hearing comments from quilt guild members that they thought the members of the board weren't really quilting anymore, just trying to make themselves important. For a while I wasn't sure what I was going to do, but because we had a prescribed size for which I could not pull out a quilt from my stack, I had to make something new. Plus I had the ambition to show something new. But it took a while until I had an idea. Now it is finished except for a few little stitchy touches.

text messages 11: yes, I can artquilt

And I am already working on the next piece in the series, text messages 12. That one, however, I plan to enter in the SAQA regional exhibition Made in Europe 2, for which the entry process opened today, so I won't post a picture here yet.

I have been doing longarm comissions, here is a detail of one of them.

I like quilting traditional quilts with the longarm machine. It is relaxing!

When I was taking off a few strands from a vest which just didn't please me as part of the design, I started thinking whether these could perhaps be useful in the 70,273 project.

But I admit that not much has happened in that direction beyond the thought.
Then I spent days frantically trying to catch up with the dyeing of my March-collection. The shipment of fabrics had been seriously delayed, by several weeks, and I only managed to ship the finished collection three weeks into April, when usually I try to get it out by the end of the month.

Now I am getting ready to go to Nadelwelt in Karlsruhe for the weekend.

In any case - I am still alive. And looking forward to spending my birthday on the road going to Karlsruhe, and then setting up the stand...