zoethe: (Bluebird)
I owe quilts to many people. Many, many people. Some of them are partially done, some are still just gleams of ideas in my head. And part of my project to live more graciously is to get back to my fiber arts, my creative and giving side.

On Sunday, I attacked my sewing room, the last room in the house that had not been uncluttered in my "Hubby's out of town, let's spring clean" week. I got my work table and sewing table all cleaned up and found the fabric with which I intended to back a baby quilt that has been in the works since baby arrived.

He's walking now.

Go ahead and laugh, but I know crafters who are working on "baby quilts" that might be high school graduation presents. So I'm not that hopelessly behind.

No, really.

Having all the pieces in one place, and being "on a roll," I decided to sandwich and pin baste the baby quilt. For those who don't know, a quilt consists of a top, generally pieced in a pattern, a fabric backing, and between these some kind of batting that gives it loft and warmth. In order to get these three layers to stay together, they must be stitched through with a topstitch that can either be functionally placed in the seams of the pieced top or decoratively sewn in a pattern on the surface--otherwise known as "quilting."

Like the toilet paper.

In order to accomplish this permanent quilting, the layers must be temporarily basted together so that they don't shift and wrinkle. The easiest way to do this is with safety pins pinned about every six inches all over the surface. Even in a small project, it's a lot of safety pins. Generally this project is undertaken on large enough floorspace for the entire quilt to lie flat, and the quilter crawling about on her knees, trying not to wrinkle the portions she hasn't pinned yet. With a king sized quilt it can take two days and hundreds of pins.

If you want to make a quilter laugh, innocently ask her if she has a safety pin handy.

I was almost 2/3 of the way through the pin basting when I realized that I'd misaligned the quilt and half of the top row was pinned only to batting, with the backing laid out too far down. In other words, the top layer of the sandwich had slid completely out of alignment and was not over the bottom layer at all. A hundred safety pins, and all of it was out of whack and had to be redone.

I'm quite proud of myself that I dismissed my first two reactions:

  • Reaction one was, "I'll just cut off the top half of the blocks! He's a baby; he'll never know!

  • Reaction two was, "Kerosene and a match!"


But no, I took a deep breath, sighed, and unpinned all the work I'd done.

I'd like to say that I didn't even swear, but I can only say that I don't remember swearing, so it must have been minimal.

Once it was unpinned, I even realigned it and repinned it right. Tomorrow I'm hoping to actually get the machine quilting done. When it's finished, it will go to a child who will never know the headaches that it caused me.

And almost every hand-made project has at least one headache/heartache moment. You may never learn the story, but when you are gifted with a piece of craft made by a friend, take a moment to consider the soul of the gift. It's already been the source of joy and frustration to someone who cares enough about you to project their heart through their hands and make something of beauty for you.
zoethe: (Fabric)
I am still thrilled to bits with my studio, which I continued to "feather" yesterday, and delighted that I will soon be sewing in there.

But one of the reactions I saw to sharing my pictures was, "I wish I had space for my crafts." It was a vivid reminder that we - all of us, me included - make limitations for ourselves where, really none should exist.

The best example of how such limitations are self-imposed is my buddy Craig. When John and I first lived in Fairbanks, we made friends with a great couple, Robin and Craig. Robin and Craig lived in the a tiny, lopsided cabin. The house consisted of a living room about the size of your average dorm room, one bedroom just large enough for their kingsized bed and a couple dressers, a small kitchen with just enough room for a breakfast table, and a tiny bathroom. The most spacious area was the artic entry, which served as storage for all the stuff they would have kept in a garage if they'd had a garage. Standing flat-footed, I could put both hands on the ceiling, palms flat.

In that tiny space, Craig ran a darkroom. He repaired, tuned, and waxed skis. He practiced his martial arts skills and went from novice to black belt in Tai Kwon Do. He crafted and finished a gorgeous blanket chest. He sewed gear for back country use. Together the two of them butchered a moose, cleaned and processed countless salmon, prepared for extensive trips, and probably some other skills I'm not remembering. Oh, and he played a mean guitar.

All of this in a space not as large as my living room.

Yes, practicing his Tae Kwon Do meant a lot of turning carefully and backing up so as not to kick through the TV. Yes, his craftwork meant that there were weeks on end of stepping over power tools in the middle of the floor. Yes, his darkroom meant lifting the developer out of the tub every day in order to shower (and then returning it to the tub because its alternate resting place was the toilet). Yes, it wasn't unusual to step the wrong way and create a domino fall of skis and poles. None of it fit neatly into the space. But he still did it. He still accomplished amazing and beautiful things, even without a dedicated space.

So don't give up. Don't get discouraged. You can still accomplish your dreams. You may just have to step sideways through a hallway to get there.

One more

Mar. 3rd, 2010 08:06 am
zoethe: (Fabric)
When writing my post last night about carving myself an actual studio out of my laundry room, I managed to forget to include the one picture that actually shows the washer and dryer dilemma:

Behind a cut in case people want to read the original post first. )
If I'd been thinking about it, I would have taken "before" pictures. But I wasn't expecting to get so much done!
zoethe: (Fabric)
It was not the Tuesday I was looking for. This was probably obvious from my earlier post demanding sympathy (and thank you all for doing a bang-up job at it). By the time I got back in the house and got settled down from all the chaos, it was obviously not going to be a business day. Hell, there was no "day" left.

So, my intention was to go to bed early. This is often my intention when Ferrett is out of town. It is an intention seldom accomplished, however, since I find it hard to go to sleep without him. And the fact that I am writing this at 2:30 in the morning is proof of my utter failure this time.

But that failure was not caused by sitting at the computer, playing mindless video games and getting frustrated with myself. No, tonight's failure was generated by action.

As many of you will recall, a while back I organized myself a sewing space in my laundry room so that I could get back to quilting. At the time I was pleased to have a space to sew, and eventually I added some fabric storage, but try as I might I didn't feel like it was a space in its own right. A couple months back, I expanded that space by getting Ferrett to move his drums to the empty corner of the family room and taking over the last bits of the laundry room. It's a large space, more room than I've ever had for sewing before, and when I got it arranged I wanted to feel excited about it as a space. But it wasn't there. I felt awkward and silly calling it my studio - it was a laundry room with sewing stuff in it. And I couldn't figure out why.

Then this evening I was reading a magazine I picked up called "Where Women Create" that's all about studio spaces. And it just made me more hopeless - well, of course their spaces are awesome. They are old barns or airy lofts or screen porches. I've seen this before, and I know that what I've got is a basement. An unfinished space of concrete and appliances, plumbing and electrical.

And, it hit me like a smack to the back of the head, absolutely nothing of me.

The factor tying together these women's spaces was not awesome location; it was what they did with that location. They made it their own. They filled it with inspiration and memory and comfort.

I'd stuck a couple tables in a room and waited for the magic. How oblivious could I be?

My first thought was, "gods, now I have to spend money buying myself stuff." But you know what? I have stuff. But because of my clutter-averse nature in my living area, lots of it was stowed away in an attempt to keep things clean.

All I had to do was open some cabinets.

I started hauling bits and pieces of things half forgotten, things loved but crammed away, and before you knew it, the room had flashes of character. But the washing machine area was a glaring eyesore, ruining it all for me. And then I realized part of the reason why: it looked like a basement because it was grimy like a basement. That set me to cleaning the floor under the laundry sink and around the machines. It was transformative.

The other thing I realized that that I had neither art nor craft on display in the room. That's right, my "studio" didn't have a single thing I'd made hanging on the walls.

How

Fucked up

Is that?

Now there is, at the cost of an entire evening. And, yes, now that 3am is rolling around, much of a night. There are still plenty of things I want to do there, and I'm sure there are other items that will make their way into the room. But I made a good start on creating creative space.

For those who are interested, here are pictures )
Now I really do have to get some sleep!
zoethe: (Amish quilt)
I'm suffering from dropsie today - can't seem to stay awake Slept until 11, got up and did some stuff, had lunch, laid down to read around 2:30, almost immediately fell asleep, and was barely able to get myself to stay awake long enough to struggle out of bed around 5. I had dinner and chatted online for a bit and was about ready to give up and go back to bed when Ferrett suggested I spend a little time quilting.

I haven't spent nearly enough time at it recently, partially because I'm behind on projects that I need to get done and my sewing area is a mess, but I figured I could do a little.

I'm making a scrappy baby quilt for a baby who is turning 1 in June. I thought I might get the quilt done in time for her birthday, but I'm beginning to doubt it. I like scrap quilts in principle, like how much more texture there is in the fabrics, but oh my gods, cutting the pieces for it is ENDLESS. If I am making a quilt like the one I made for Amy, the limited color palette means that I can do some serious production cutting of pieces - I think I had all the fabrics cut in one long day of work. But with scrap quilting, you're cutting just a few squares from each fabric, so there is continual new pieces being handled, and an hour and a half of work yields a 3" pile of 3.5" squares.

Bleah. Time to sleep again.
zoethe: (Amish quilt)
The challenge was simple, the results complex and beautiful. [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna (otherwise known as award-winning author Catherynne Valente) announced an invitational art show for the release of the concluding book in her two-book series, The Orphan's Tales. The medium in which people could work was unlimited; the theme of the show was art inspired by either book.

Now, it's always a little scary when you first read the book of a close friend. What if you hate it? What if it's dreadful? What are you going to say, "My, didn't they choose a lovely typeface for the text"?

I needn't have worried. The books are so luminously written that the pages practically glow. They are retold fairy tales - some familiar, some obscure - all twisted and turned to give fresh insight to the familiar icons of our youth. The tales are nested like a Russian doll, pulling you layers deep into the story of the story: a former slave telling the story of her life will lead into the story of how her master received his fortune by magic, which will lead to the story of the wizard's training and so on, until you are several layers deep in the tale. And then the layers will be added back, one at a time: the wizard's story finished, the master's story finished, and finally back to the tale that began the journey.

Honestly, if you haven't read the books yet you should stop reading right now and go order them.

...

Everyone back? Good.

The tale in the book that struck the deepest note in me (and in several others, as you can see from the other art show pieces) was the pirates. Their ship, The Maidenhead, has a tree for a sail, and the crew is made up of women who don't fit into society - a ship full of monsters, and proud of it. Also, the fabulous SJ Tucker ([livejournal.com profile] s00j) had written a song about the ship on the album she made to accompany the firstbook (you can hear a sample of the song on Amazon - go here and click on "Shipful of Monsters" ) I decided I wanted to make a quilt based on that tale.

But how to you portray a tree as a sail? It's a lovely mental image in the abstract; try to make it concrete and suddenly you've got all kinds of problems. I thought about an evergreen - the triangular shape lends itself to the image of a sail. But that didn't feel wild enough for this ship. Then I hit upon the notion of a weeping willow. They are trees that dance in breezes, and their long branches make a perfect stand-in for the ropes of rigging. I was getting close, but the pale green uniformity was still not quite the right look. So I changed that to deep tropical greens, and finally had the look I was seeking:


A slightly closer view:


Detail of the sea:


Detail of the tree:


Once I had decided on the look I wanted, I had to figure out construction. I knew I wanted the richness of lots of color in the water and in the tree, so would be working with small scraps of material. In the end, I stuck with the wild and changing theme of the ship and her crew. Except for the base shape of the ship and the bole of the tree, all fabric edges stand loose and subject to raveling - slow change over time, but changeable nonetheless. I spent a lot of time snipping bits of fabric, laying them out on the foundation fabric, standing back to look at them, adjusting, coming back the next day, changing the lighting, until I was finally satisfied with the look. At that point I added the silk cording vines in the tree, tucking their top ends among the leaves and branches and pinning them down. To add to the changeability of the piece, I skipped over the areas where the bottom end of a vine passes behind a cloth branch - that leaves those vines free to be adjusted to different shapes.

That left the sea looking rather empty, so I added silk cording to it as well. I then hand-basted everything down, sandwiched with the batting and backing, and free-form quilted the layers with metallic thread. For the tree, I straight-stitched along all the shapes and added lines of quilting that followed the flow of the branches, but the sea I just stitched wave shapes haphazardly across the surface. In the large sky spaces, I quilted in other forms: a griffin, another ship in full sail, three geese flying, the names of the ship's crew, and the first line of the song's chorus: Sing of the Maidenhead, lass of the sea. Once all that was done, I hand-stitched beads and metallic thread embroidering in the sea and the tree, and added brass findings as ship details. The large red-orange bead along the ships railing is, of course, Captain Tommy's fox tail.

And then I didn't get around to photographing it before it had to go away to the auction. Fortunately, Cat loved it so much that she had to have it for her own, so I can go visit it now and then. And the last time I was there, I took these pictures with my Blackberry. They are pretty poor, but at least they are something. One of these days I will get over there with a proper camera and take decent pictures, but I wanted to at least get these up. Of all the quilts I've made over the years, I am proudest of this one.
zoethe: (Fabric)
First, let me make a confession: Avid quilters do not make quilts to give as gifts; they give quilts as gifts in order to have an excuse to make them. It would be 10 times easier and considerably less expensive to just buy something off the shelf. But then we wouldn't have a reason to play with fabric.

This observation comes by way of my fabric orgy of two nights ago. As I was pulling fabric out of the dryer I thought, I should take a look at the pattern again. I pulled out the book. I found the picture.

I discovered that I didn't like the pattern at all anymore.

Actually, that's a misstatement. I still liked the pattern's basic concept. But in the months of gathering fabric, that concept evolved in my head. I remembered it as being far less symmetrical, far more whimsical, and involving a much broader color palette.

When I looked at the original again, it was just not as visually exciting as the one my brain had conflated. And the one I want to make is the one in my brain.

The problem with the one in my brain, though, is that while I had this abstract idea of it, I didn't really have a clear picture. I'd left it to broad brush strokes, because I thought I had a pattern to rely on. So now I was looking at piles of fabrics that I love, but lacked the "engineering" to begin putting it together. My right brain had a pretty, but abstract, picture. Now my left brain had to kick in to figure out the math of it.

The original pattern idea was quite simple: Squares of bright novelty fabrics broken up by lines of smaller, black-and-white checkerboard "trails" across the quilt. In my mind those trails were an irregular pattern that strayed around the quilt. In the pattern, they are just 3 or 4 sets of very regular "steps" starting high on the left side of the quilt and ending lower on the right. In my mind, the color palette of the brights was extremely broad. In the pattern, it's limited to the red/yellow spectrum of colors.

What I want is the checkerboard trail moving irregularly through the quilt, and the many bright fabrics. I am not worried about using the fabrics to create specific shapes (the stars, houses, baskets, etc. that so many quilt patterns are about). I want this quilt to be a treasure hunt: there will be cats and dogs and fire engines and princesses and chop sticks and dinosaurs and cars and trains and many, many other fun bits. I want this to be the kind of quilt that a child can look at in a "Where's Waldo" fashion, where she will have favorite blocks and ones she doesn't like. That is the point of the quilt. So I am retaining the simple square structure, though in some places a single piece of fabric will span the space of two squares because the picture on the fabric requires more room.

In the original, the checkerboard squares, which are half the size of the others, are the only uses of black and white fabrics. But I have a bunch of bright designs on black backgrounds that are too large to really be seen in such small squares. So I will be adding a border that is a larger checkerboard, which will allow me to use those larger patterns.

And of course since I'm working across the whole color palette now, I will have to cut out all the fabric squares and put them on a design board in order to arrange them in a manner that doesn't muddy the checkerboard and is pleasing to the eye.

It's a good thing this baby arrived in the summer. It's going to take a while for me to finish this, but she's not going to need the quilt for a while.

So that's it: the tale of how I went from copying someone else's pattern to using it as an inspiration. It's more a variation on a theme than an original, but I feel good about it. Pictures as soon as it's a physical reality and not just a more wholly formed idea in my head.
zoethe: (Amish quilt)
Whenever I have been seriously ill, my first acts upon achieving any level of recovery inevitably involve some sort of insanely giant project. This has been the case since I was in high school. I remember being just home from the hospital after fighting off spinal meningitis. I could only stand up long enough to go to the bathroom, but I realized that it was my brother's birthday, and everyone had pretty much forgotten about it. It suddenly became very important to me that he have a cake. We didn't have any cake mix.

I made a cake from scratch, sitting on the floor. I pulled the Sunbeam mixer off the counter, and crawled from cabinet to cabinet, gathering ingredients. I even made frosting. Because being sick getting well makes me crazy.

With that in mind, I think it's clear that fountain was enough to establish that I was, in fact, sick as hell. But I was not done, oh no. I still had crazy energy stored someplace in my body.

I opened the Big Box o' Fabric.

Now, that probably doesn't seem like an undertaking, but in order to make that fabric - and other fabrics I've been gathering for a project - actually usable in a quilt that's to be washable, they all need to be washed thoroughly in hot water to remove any excess dye and then dried on hot to take care of any shrinking. And in order to accomplish that, each piece of fabric has to be separated and unfolded so there aren't any unexposed clumps.

Between the Big Box and other fabrics I'd picked up on sale, I had a lot:


The picture really doesn't convey how much fabric is there. It reminded me of a pile of fall leaves:


I told myself that my back is messed up. I told myself that it was silly. But in the end, I had to do it. Yes, I got down on the floor and rolled in my fabric. Yes, I giggled.

And yes, I even took a picture:


[livejournal.com profile] gieves? My contribution to Craft Night tomorrow may be bringing bags of fabric and borrowing your iron....
zoethe: (Unfolding Star)
I finished Amy's quilt. Pictures aren't great - it's hard to photograph a queen-sized coverlet! But I think she will be happy with it. Sparing your bandwidth )

Next project is to concentrate on the piece for [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna's art show. I'm excited and nervous about doing a piece for the book. Drawing board time!
zoethe: (Unfolding Star)
I finally finished the first project of my renewed quilting career, an Amish-inspired wallhanging that I began almost 18 years ago when living in Fairbanks. I made the top then and quilted the middle portion of it, then could not find a border pattern I liked. Then I got away from quilting for a long time. When I picked it up again, finishing this piece seemed like a good place to start, and in a moment of serendipity I happened across the perfect border pattern in a local quiltshop. This morning I finished the binding. Here's a picture of the whole quilt and a bit of detail on the border.
(Crossposted to my journal and a couple communities)

Steam

Oct. 3rd, 2006 09:57 pm
zoethe: (Bridal Path Block)
I purchased fabric to begin Amy's quilt at the end of last week, but I've been too busy to actually begin working on it until tonight. My "sewing" consisted, however, of:

1. Completing the final cleanup of the basement;
2. Prepping all the freshly-washed fabric;
3. Organizing my sewing tools;
4. Adjusting my sewing machine; and
5. Realizing that I had neglected to purchase thread and had no appropriate spools on hand.

So, I thought I would share a picture of the pattern that I am making for Amy: )
and start talking a little about the tools of the trade.

In this case, your iron.

Now, I don't watch daytime TV anymore, so things may have changed, but I remember as a young woman seeing ads for Proctor-Silex/GE/Kenmore/etc. irons that were trumpeted as "feather weight," "easy to handle," "lighter than air." Because who wants to lug around some heavy, awkward piece of blazing hot metal? And, honestly, such irons are perfectly suitable it you are touching up cotton-poly blends.

Not so much 100% cotton fabric.

A quilter's iron is one of her best and most dangerous tools. Judicious use can coax a wobbly seam flat and crisp, but slipshod inattentiveness can distort a perfectly square block into a distorted oblong. So good technique is imperative. But so are good tools.

After each step of quilting, you press. You press seams flat to minimize the bulkiness at places where four or eight or more seams come together. You press seams toward the dark part of a block to prevent them from showing through the light part. You press finished blocks to jolly them an eighth of an inch toward true. You press strips of blocks sewn together so that you can sew them to the next row evenly. You press completed tops to get out any wrinkles before sandwiching them to the batting and back for quilting.

You press. Press, as in pressure applied. And if you are using a lightweight iron, all that pressure has to be delivered via your own arm and shoulder. Fine for a dress shirt now and then; not so great when you are standing at the ironing board pressing the seams of 954 2 inch triangle squares.

This is why quilters like heavy irons.

To satisfy a quilter, an iron tipped over onto the surface of an ironing board should land with a resonant thud akin to the Ring of Power hitting the floor at Bag End. When filled with water, it should cause the operator to grunt softly upon lifting it. Arnold Schwarzenegger should stop by and ask to borrow it for bicep curls.

It sounds crazy, but it is a third of the work to iron seams with a heavy iron. And they stay flat.

So if you are going to start quilting, buy a good, heavy iron. Because the other nice thing is that when your husband* asks you why you have time to sew 954 light colored triangles to 954 dark colored triangles and then to iron all those triangle squares flat, but don't have time to sew a button back on his shirt, you have a lot of upper body strength to smack him one!

*Not this husband.
zoethe: (Bridal Path Block)
I have not yet begun to quilt.

Though this sounds like a revolutionary's declaration, it's simply a fact of logistics: the quilt shop is only open until 5pm most weekdays, and I was too sick this weekend to shop. Ergo, although I have chosen a pattern for Amy's quilt, I do not yet have fabric, and as I don't want to get mired in another project that will distract me, I have refrained from utilizing my lovely new sewing space.

I have not yet begun to quilt. I have cross-stitched - a much more illness-friendly activity - but not quilted yet.

I hope to remedy that this weekend. In the meantime, my older daughter has made a plea that I share her favorite quilting anecdote with all of you.

It is from a long time ago, in a state far, far away. Alaska, as it turns out. I had been quilting for a few years by this time, and Erin had grown up surrounded by fabric. Sometimes literally - one of her favorite activities when I was sewing was to pull all the fabrics off the shelves in my sewing room and wrap her 2-year-old self in them. This served a couple purposes for me: first, it kept her happily occupied when I was trying to get through a project; and second, refolding all that fabric meant that I stayed aware of what was in my inventory. If you know anything about quilters, you will know that they have a love even greater than cutting large pieces of fabric into small pieces of fabric and then sewing them back into large pieces of fabric.

Quilters love buying fabric. I often purchased fabric that I had no idea how I would ever use - it was just too beautiful to let it come and go from the shop without me owning a piece. So refolding all that fabric was like revisiting dear friends.

All in all, it was a happy, symbiotic relationship. For a while.

I can still remember the day. It was in December, so Erin was not quite three years old. I had just finished making a king-sized quilt of beautiful Christmas fabrics, and was sewing the binding around the edge of it, the very last touch, when the phone rang. I got up from the couch, answered the call, and returned only a moment later to find my cherubic, blonde daughter sitting in my place on the couch. In her left hand was my king-sized quilt.

In her right hand, a pair of scissors. With which she had snipped more than a dozen holes into the back of the quilt.

She smiled up at me. "I kilting Mommy! I kilting!"

She was so proud.

I was so furious.

You see, this was not the first scissor incident in the house. We had gone round and round on the topic of not cutting things up. And here we were again. Only this time, it wasn't just a t-shirt or her bangs. It was an object into which I had poured weeks of my life.

I stood there, paralyzed with anger, and thought, "If I touch her, I will kill her."

I snatched her up and deposited her into her crib with an order for her to stay there. Shaking with fury, I picked up the phone and dialed my friend Barbara, the leader of our quilting group and the mother of Erin's best friend.

I told Barbara what Erin had done. Barbara said, "Kill her."

This helped me regain my composure.

In the end, all the damage had been done in an area only about six inches across. I appliqued a large heart over that spot, and that heart is still on the quilt to this day.

Erin is 20 years old now. But she still remembers. As do I, every Christmas when I get that "kilt" out of storage.
zoethe: (Cross block)
Part 1

A #10 quilting needle is a tiny filament of wire just over 1 inch long. It is not much thicker than a human hair. When you first hold one in your hand, your reaction is, "This is impossible! I can barely see it, let alone work with it."

High quality cotton quilting thread is thicker than regular sewing thread, so that it has the strength for its exposed stitches to hold up to wear and tear without tearing the fabric of the quilt itself (this is why you never quilt on cotton with standard polyester thread if the finished project is to be used as a blanket).

Now, anyone who's done any hand sewing may be able to see an equation issue here: teeny weeny needle eye, + BIG THICK THREAD = near impossibility in threading needle.

And yet, back when I was in my quilting heyday, I could easily thread #10 quilting needles without the aid of a needle threader, glasses, or magnification. I was GOOD, baby.

Whereas...

A #20 tapestry needle is a thick, blunt needle with a large eye. This needle is designed not to pierce fabric but to find its way into the holes in the weave, pulling multiple strands of brightly colored embroidery floss in its wake. Comparing a tapestry needle to a quilting needle is like comparing a wire coat hanger to a lead pipe.

And yet, I now cannot thread a tapestry needle without the aid of glasses and magnification, and pride alone is the only thing keeping me from breaking out the needle threaders.

Getting old sucks.

------

Part 2

The shelves that make up the support for my new sewing table go together simply by hooking the cross bars of the shelves into the keyhole openings of the uprights and then using a hammer to tap them into place.

In theory.

The first one went together all right, but as I was trying to seat the upright for the second one, I manage to pound the side of my hand with the hammer. I didn't get much of the hand; just that little bulge of skin that sticks out on the side when you make a fist. I slammed the hammer down on that, smashing it into the narrow metal rail below, splitting the skin. Blood spurted from the wound, and in that first dizzy moment of flashing pain, I thought it might be stitches-worthy. But all it required was ice, peroxide, and a bit of tender-loving attention from my hubby. It's very bruised and tender to the touch, and of course I keep bumping it into things. I didn't bike this morning because I can't lean on the handlebars.

I've suffered for my art, and I haven't even started making anything. How's that for efficient?
zoethe: (Bridal Path Block)
Yesterday afternoon I put the final touches on what I can now refer to as my "studio."

Laughingly, mind you. Laughingly.

The impetus for finishing was telling Amy that I'm starting up quilting again.

"That's great!" she said. "You have to make me a quilt. You made Erin a quilt, but you never made me one."

"I made you a quilt," I protested.

She scoffed at me. "A baby quilt! You never made me a big quilt, and you did for Erin."

And she's right. I did make Erin a big girl quilt, but by the time Amy was a big girl, I was not quilting. So now I am tasked with making her a blue and purple quilt out of sturdy enough fabric that it can be hauled about and thoroughly mauled without falling apart, but also soft and cuddly.

Will get right on that. Bought the tools, chose the pattern, now I just have to get the fabric and get to work.

But I realized that I lacked a working space. I mused this issue, lying in bed Sunday morning, and I remembered that the best working surface I ever had was actually an old door laid over two book cases. It was supposed to be temporary, because it was so ghetto, but in actuality the sturdiness of the door made an exceptional working space and I kept it for years.

What a shame, I thought, lying there, that I don't have a stray door n--SAY!!

Turns out we did, in fact, have a stray door lying about, the door that was at the top of the basement stairs, which I took off its hinges as soon as we moved in (it blocked a window and was never going to be used).

I was in business.

I no longer own half-height file cabinets, but there were other possibilities: book cases, for example. I didn't want to spend very much money, however, and found myself strapped with Golidlocks issues - this one is too low; this one is too high. Eventually, "just right" turned out to be a 4 shelf storage rack from Home Depot, made up into two units in what they call the "work bench" configuration.

Pictures of my basement: scaaary. )

The room is also the laundry room, which is actually quite handy for prewashing fabric. And there is a large double-sink washtub, so if I ever get back into dying fabrics this is a very convenient setup. All I'm really lacking is storage space - not a problem now, but I know quilting. It will be.

What you can't see is that Ferrett's drum kit takes up a large corner of the room, off to the left of the first picture. He has not been using it at all of late, and unused space in a sewing room soon becomes comandeered. My mind's eye can already see shelves and cabinets there, brimming with bright-colored fabrics. Because, after all, if he's not actually using it....

Consider yourself warned, my love. Quilting brings out a mad streak in women.

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zoethe

September 2012

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