Priorities

Making time in my studio a priority is not as important as it used to be. In the last couple of months I have started to feel really and finally retired. I am not looking for speaking or teaching jobs, but I wouldn’t turn them down!

I knew so little when I started!

Anyway, I don’t feel like I have to constantly be in production mode and if I miss some time in the studio, it’s no big deal. I’m thinking of projects that have lain dormant in the back of my brain for a long time and I’m trying to create in a more thoughtful manner.

My current project is totally laid out in my brain. I love when that happens—and I hate when that happens. Getting from the brain picture to the actual piece is not always a straight road.

It has grown larger than I thought it would be already.

My brain picture had it about 20″ wide but these projects make their own demands. It is huge and I’m not used to working with silk, so it’s a little daunting to think about quilting this part of it.

Practice pieces are not big in my process, but I thought I’d better try it out for this one. I grabbed several scraps and put them on batting and backing and started stitching.

No issues whatsoever, so off I went on the real thing. Spoiler alert: Nothing fancy was attempted on this piece! Simple straight lines are all that is required on this part.

Know what? Channel quilting is boring, no matter what fabric you are using! That’s all I got done on the project today, but that’s fine.

In my newly retired state of mind, spending the day with my hubby, going out to lunch, stopping at the bead store……….it’s all so good! Having relaxing days like this is what it’s all about!

And the studio will be there tomorrow…after I lunch and chat with a friend…and maybe do some local shop hopping with her…life is good!

 

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No sew Monday!

It was supposed to be a day to finish up my Lakeside piece, but, as usual, I got distracted. However, it wasn’t for anything fun. Nope–it’s that time of year to get the rat’s nest of paperwork organized for taxes. Really wish I was more organized throughout the year, but at least the stuff is all in the same drawer/pile/folder–that’s what the messy desk area is for, right?

It’s something we all have to get done, and I’m almost there, so it wasn’t a totally bad morning.

It’s snowing, too. Soft and beautiful. So what do we do when it snows and we spent the whole morning on paperwork?  SNOW DYE!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOORAY!!!!

When I look at the picture, I feel like it’s a big waste of dye powder, because it seems like I put it on a little thick this time. Oh, well…I have a lot of fabric in the tubs and we’ll just have to see how it turns out!

That’s the excitement of dyeing…the unknown! And now I do have a bit of time if I want to sew a bit…but I know better than to try that anywhere around that dye table. So I think the rest of today is Designated Couch Potato Day, TV time and laziness. Ain’t retirement grand?!!!

By the way, have I ever told you that you can follow what I post on Instagram, too? I’ve only been doing that recently, but it’s easy, so I’m sure I’ll do it a lot more.  https://www.instagram.com/quirksltd/

Next time we’ll see what this snow dye day produced!

 

Playing with thread!

Dyeing is so much fun! The threads came out so beautifully. It takes forever for them to air dry, but eventually they do get dry!

They needed straightening out so I had some delightful fun with that.

Cool colors…

and you can (maybe) see that I had several different weights of thread.

Warm colors—where does raspberry fall on the spectrum?

And there is always a skein or two that get tangled, but I even enjoy getting those straightened out!

They look so nice all gathered together and ready to be used.

Of course there is probably more here than I will ever use, but I’m not in the thread dyeing business, so I’ll share with my buddies. I’m just happy that I can make unique thread with which to play!

Multiples, always!

No chance of me ever having only one project at a time! I had all kinds of dye stuff scattered around the studio from my snow dyeing, including my “thread of unknown content.” You may remember when I first found this and wound it into small skeins.

I decided to dye them up while I had everything out. Variegated colors…I’ve tried to do this using various methods, with varied success. This container method worked very well.

Wasn’t sure how it would work, but I used a cluster of warm colors and a larger cluster of cool colors and hoped for the best. Here they are hanging to dry and I think this method worked pretty darn well!!!

I do not throw these in the washer and dryer because no matter how you tie them down, they get tangled. Doing this by hand and hanging to dry makes it easier to separate the skeins and keep things smooth and pretty….so far, so good anyway!

And even after 24 hours, I couldn’t resist trying to use all the dye left in those cups. According to all the dyeing info out there, this dye should have been exhausted after that much time and with the soda ash in it. I used the drop cloth and then a bunch of muslin that I had, hoping for at least a pale gray with spots of color. This is what I got…………..

Lots of rust color and soft spots of mostly greens and blues. Very nice and I’m so surprised that there was that much oomph left in that dye!

I’ve also started auditioning fabrics for the space marine quilt for my grandson.

With thoughts of no orange so it doesn’t look like Halloween, this seems to be getting pretty dark. I’m not sure, but perhaps I’ll start over with more blues. And AJ loves purple, so that would work. All I know is that I’m not happy with these choices, so I’ll need to keep looking!

Pause and maybe no posting for a few days…………it is Christmas and I will be relaxing and enjoying time with my family. Hope you will be, too!

When it snows…

Winter in Michigan usually has a lot of snow. Not so much last year, but we have started out pretty heavy for this year.

And it’s still snowing! How could I resist the opportunity to do a little snow dyeing? Especially since I just got a few new dyes to try out. Now snow usually gives you a softer effect than ice dyeing and the snow today was very soft and fine. Can’t wait to see how these turn out.

So what do you do while you are waiting for the snow to melt? High on the priority list was a nap…not because I needed one, but because I could! Laziness rules on cold, snowy days!

I spotted these circles on the table and thought about trying to do something with them.

They have been out before, but every time I look at them all I can think is ‘cliche’ so they went back into hiding.

So then I took the opportunity to get another quilt off the UFO pile and get it ready to quilt. I had actually forgotten that I made it…and I like it! My hubby needs a new quilt for the recliner—and his naps!–so this one is ready to quilt now.

And now the snow is melted and the fabrics are ready to rinse out–hooray!

Usually I leave them overnight, but not this time! I’m too impatient to wait tonight. Stay tuned for the results.

 

 

Love being busy!

It’s so much better to be busy than to be bored, but sometimes busy is just too busy! I don’t have a bunch of pictures to show you, though I sure have been doing a lot of stuff.

Finally got the last of the leaves and garden detritus taken care of–at least as much as it’s gonna get until spring! Rain is what determined the end point there, and it was cold, too. I’m never ready for the cold weather and this year I wanted to do so much more dyeing out in the garage where I can spread everything out. There will still be dyeing done, but in my basement studio, it gets done on a much smaller scale.

Friday was a guild sponsored workshop with Paula Golden. As we were starting out, she had a small sample that she offered up to anyone who wanted to start creating with that. I did not volunteer, but was challenged to take it because it was mostly purple and my friends all know that I do not like purple!!! This is how far I got with it in class.

There will be more added to it before it’s done…quilting, for sure, and maybe some more metallic yarn or beads. I’m not sure, but something. Here’s a close up.

I took advantage of the fraying ability of silk…love those raggedy edges!

And, of course, I did the postcard demo on Saturday. Lots of supplies and choices, showing from start to finish, and as many edge finishes as I could work in.

Saturday afternoon was my rest and relaxation time, and  I’m making progress on my red houses.

Sunday, my usual day of doing nothing, has now changed to an exercise day! My daughter and I are now enrolled in kickboxing classes! I thought she was joking, but she was not and now Sunday afternoon is kickboxing time. We actually did a tryout class and found it to be a great workout, so we’re going to do it for a while.

And sometimes AJ has hockey on Sunday, too, so this is where our Sunday started!

He’s the one in black…this is part of the reason they have names and numbers on their backs!

This week will be devoted to Thanksgiving, of course, and we have to finish getting the furniture back into the house from the garage, too. I’m hoping to sneak in a little bit of sewing time, but the odds are against it! Oh, yeah–AJ will be here all day Wednesday, looking to start putting up Christmas decorations. I’m tired already!

Looking forward to fewer commitments and more couch time after this weekend. Lots more couch time. And naps….yeah, naps!

 

Slow life and lovin’ it!

Progress is always slow when hand work is involved. Especially handwork that makes your fingers sore! Of course, I’m not in a hurry to get anything done, so I’m enjoying what I call laziness. I’ve done a bit of reading, a bit of napping and a bit of furniture moving while our kitchen floor was being refinished. And there will be a LOT of furniture moving next week since the living room floor is being replaced. In the meantime, I’ve had a good time working on ‘couch’ projects. Like a bunch of unlabeled fibers–cotton and rayon, I think–that were in large skeins that I rewound into small skeins and plan on dyeing.

I was able to get my favorite beading area set up again, even though it will be temporary!

I hit our vintage market last weekend and found some things that I have wanted for ages! Spotted these chairs from the road and HAD to stop.

And these baskets were in the back corner. I was only going to buy one but my husband convinced me that I’d never find another pair like these, so I got them both…and someone else wanted them even as we were doing the transaction! Whew!

And spent all my sewing time playing with these flowers. What I like is that you can’t really see the embroidery and beading details until you get up close. That’s my main reason for doing it…that added interest as you approach and examine the art.

This is my favorite flower.

And a look at the finished project, ready to be mounted on the green wool.

Really loving my laid back life right now. It’s so much fun doing what I enjoy with no pressure to finish a thing!