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Another lesson learned!

April 14, 2008

I’ve been working to a deadline and all seemed to be going well, except that at the last minute I had a rare re-occurance of a back problem which leaves me unable to sit comfortably for much more than twenty minutes at a time.  Suddenly the time to finish became scarce. Did I like my quilt when it was ‘finished’  – no I didn’t. The final quilting had an unexpected impact on the whole which left me dis-satisfied, and I’d left myself no time at all to address the problem.

Comparing this to the pleasure I’ve had from the TIF pieces I’ve made this year has made me realise that, contrary to my previous definition of myself (Or maybe that was just a younger self ????), I don’t work well to deadlines. And in spite of everything I’ve previously said about working to a finished design, either in my head or on the PC, I do let the quilt talk to me – because this one is shouting WRONG, and other than not submit it all, there’s nothing I can do about it.

Lesson noted. Lesson learned from? I’ll have to wait until another exhibition deadline comes around before I can comment on that!


April TIF

April 9, 2008
This month’s challenge is ‘How do you see change?’

This immediately lifted my spirits! I’m very fortunate not to have been hit by the uncontrollable cataclysmic changes (accidents?) that can affect people. The changes in my life have been down to the normal life cycles of a family, relationships and of and at work.

Not all of these have been pleasant at the time. Some have been a matter of circumstance and some have been of my own choosing (mostly the latter in recent years). Some changes are quite distinct whereas others are a matter of evolution. Either way change brings out my “cup half-full” mentality and I can look for positives.

The best changes of all are those you can control and that also bring with them opportunities for learning and subsequent personal growth. I’d hate to envisage a time when I’m unable to bring about changes in my life, however small – I fear that I would become quite diminuished.

Enough! Where has this brought me to in terms of the challenge?

I see change and growth as circular, though not necesssarily evenly so, hence the sketch below.

Some years ago I was given a floating candle set which I’ve never opened because I could see the format of the packaging/shapes becoming a design layout at some point in the future. That future is now!

And the colours are part of that ‘just popped into my head’ moment. I’ve never combined these colours before but I presume I’ve seen something that has influenced m choice – but I can’t think what, right now!!!

April bag

April 9, 2008
Sadly unloved – didn’t enjoy / learn from the construction, don’t like the fabric. But the good news is that there is less of it than there was, and by finishing this bag I get to make the May bag!!!!

Thin Blue Line

April 6, 2008
The Contemporary Quilt section of QGBI currently has a challenge to make a piece 120cm x 30 cm and other than the size the only stipulation is that it should have a thin blue line running horizontally across the quilt. 
I made my piece very simply – it is white on white and the thin blue line is more text (I can’t get enough of it at the moment). The only trouble is I’ve made my piece landscape and whilst I’m quite happy to FME from any angle I can’t do handwriting sideways!!! I hadn’t thought this physical problem through when planning the quilt so the start of the text was done very slowly with 115 cm of quilt rolled very tightly! 
I’m really enjoying (even though it has been done many times before and carried out far more effectively) using the soft warm domestic ‘feel’ of quilting and contrasting it with messages that are quite the opposite!

March TIF finished

March 27, 2008

I think I quite like the text used as quilting. As I was working I thought that the stitched line was too spidery and that if I used the technique again I’d use a thicker thread. On reflection I’m not so sure – it might make the full text more dominant. The basis of this challenge was to focus on the detail after all!


Play – a quarterly review!

March 27, 2008

In January I wrote about an alternative to  the traditional New Year resolution – and chose Play as my word.

This operates at several levels:

  • related to the goal it means ‘work less and play more’. As I move towards retirement I need to shift away from work as a total pre-occupation. I enjoy what I do and spend ‘leisure time’ reading and researching around my job, but this will be redundant when I retire so I need to start replacing that activity with others.

It’s been a busy time at work but I have managed to work less at home, probably because I’m too tired in an evening to do much! I have deliberately spent less time reading/blogging around the day job, which has meant that I’ve managed to contribute to this blog more regularly – and I know I’ve benefitted from that. 

  • I spend a lot of time at the PC prevaricating and know that I need to be doing something more positive – I need to play (aka stitch!)

I have definitely spent more time in my sewing room than ever before and have finally (though not necessarily permanently!) conquered my inability to stitch/play for extended periods of time. I am now regularly losing myself in my work – no artificial cut-offs after 20-30 minutes!

  • when I play (aka stitch), I want to experiment more. I’m taking small steps but doing this on my own seems to mean that there are never any giant leaps or sideways steps going on.

Hmmm – not so sure about this, but perhaps this is a hard judgement to make about yourself. What I have done is had a re-think about the definition of play, or more to the point have thought about how children play. And the key here is repetition – the same game, the same characters, the same toys over and over with little variation until something else catches their attention.

I think I”ve been quite hard on myself, not allowing myself to re-use colour combinations or techniques because I wouldn’t be ‘pushing’ myself.  But if I’m really going to play not only do I have to give myself permission to re-use ideas I need to actively encourage myself to do so!

March TIF II

March 25, 2008

I’m quite pleased with the clarity of the reverse machine applique, but the large letters have left more negative space than I had imagined. Also, the letters are quite ‘baggy’ and will need some stitching to anchor them, so the original quilting plan has to be abandoned! I’m going to sample stitching the text from which these letters were taken across the full width of the piece. If I can match the colour of either of the fabrics then at first glance, it could give interesting glimpses of the text – without revealing the whole.

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