Wednesday

Interruption to normal service


Yes, I know all is very quiet here at the moment. I am having some health problems that mean I am not in a blogging place at the moment. I am still waiting for appointments with specialists and all sorts of things but I am sure a belated birthday trip this weekend will help get me out of this funk and back to my blogging best.

I'll see you on the flip side.

PS isn't this test card brilliant. It has quilt potential written all over it I think.....

Inspiration Station

I am a blog devourer. I have a lot of blogs in my RSS reader and sitting at my desk reading them is the way I start most weekdays. I love wandering through other people's little worlds and learning new things from inspirational people. When I am lacking a little get up and go I can spend hours reading through the archives of these blogs and finding myself lost in the wonderful writing, inspiring pictures and covet-able lives.

Today I am going to share three of my favourite blogs so you too can get lost in them.

1)
 
(Inside a black apple) is the the art and miscellany of Emily Martin, an illustrator and maker of pretty things from Portland, OR. I have read this blog for years and years. It was the first blog that I really read consistently. I have no idea how I stumbled across it but I am very glad I did. I particularly like looking back at the posts from 2008 which remind me of how much I longed to live a life filled with creating. It is still amazing to me that I am here, doing it. 

2) 

A Beautiful Mess is the home of Elsie Larson, a power house in the world of Vintage/Indie/DIY joy. If you are looking for some lustworthy style wander round this blog for a while. It is all about the little details for this lady.

3)

Meredith is One Sheepish Girl. a blogger, knitter, english student extraordinare! I stumbled across this blog following a Friday faves link from somewhere, and I am very glad I did. She has lovely clean photography and blogs in a very honest and entertaining way about balancing being a student, running a business and coming to terms with her love for crazy sweaters. Check it out. I hope it will bring a smile to your face.

Tuesday

Spark-less

"I have my rock, I have my roll, but I could not find the spark...." (Erin Mckeown - Slung Lo)

This song is my anthem at the moment. I have all the ingredients to be in a most fabulous mood, but every time I walk on the path to college I have no spark. I am in full on hibernation mode but as this is my second year I haven't got time for this kind of mopey indulgence. While I am struggling to work in college I am determined to be as productive as possible in my studio at home. There has been a fair amount of sketchbook work, lots of researching and rather than focussing on my making modules to the detriment of my more theoretical ones I am keeping right on top of my written work. But I am on a practical course so I need to make sure this sparkless time if filled with making things as well.

 We are being encouraged to sample ideas as we go along, making "3D drawings" you might say, so this is what I have been doing this afternoon. Currently I am really inspired by urban architecture so I have been translating this into quilt designs. I learnt with the last quilt I designed that I really need to make samples quite early on because the picture I have on the page and the one in my head don't always turn out how I imagine when I start sewing. 

Today has been filled with calculations of strip length and width - I always forget to add seam allowance to both edges of a seam and so this has been accompanied with a fair amount of unpicking, rubbing out and recalculating. Then onto pressing and cutting, creating beautiful chaos from my fabric scraps.

After that I started chain piecing, which is a technique where you stitch lots of similar sections in one go. In quilting you have to sew a lot of short seams together which makes it very time consuming if you are only doing a single block art a time, sewing 1 seam then pressing it, and the sewing the next seam etc. It is much faster to do multiple blocks at the same time. SilverLining has a much better explanation here

My main trouble with chain piecing is that you have to know what your sewing and make sure it is all in the right order. I haven't yet found a system that works for me,  most times I use post-its stuck onto pile of pieces but these invariably fall off, or I leave them on the top piece when I am stitching then can't remember which pile is which to put it back onto. Today I tried masking tape on my board with piles laid next to them, and it worked! The big test will be if the system makes sense tomorrow when I go back to the various piles and finish sewing....

Here is how the top is looking so far. Now the maths are done it is coming together quite quickly, I just wish I didn't have work tonight so I could keep sewing.
p.s If anyone does find my spark hanging around please pop it on my desk, I miss it!!



Ooops.

I had a morning of very useful conversations. I left college at lunchtime full of ideas and promise. I was going to spend the afternoon drawing, enjoying the sunlight in my lovely studio at home, rather than the dark little corner I inhabit at college. Also,  I would be more likely to do a lot of work at home where there are NO distractions. Have you spotted my first error? I was completely on track until I got home and there was a package on the doormat. A package from The Eternal Maker containing these lovelies:

Now what I should have done was pop them in my overly organised quilt drawers till I had some free time. What I certainly should *not* have done was to raid my stash and start building up a little stack of co-ordinating fabrics just to see how lovely they looked. Before I knew it the iron was on, a new blade was in my rotary cutter (fabric as beautiful as that typewriter fabric deserves a new blade), and just over an hour and a half later this cushion was sat on my desk.

Isn't it pretty. I knew I was going to love the typewriter fabric, I just didn't think I'd ever have the confidence to cut into it. It was expensive (£8 for 40cm)  and usually that means it sits in my stash for a very long while. Not this one.

Here it is in good cushion company. The purple cushion is a completely gorgeous present from my very good friend NearlyButNotQuite. She is a demon hand quilter and has stitched teeny tiny stitches along every single vertical and horizontal line on this line architectural drawing print.

My mind and eyes boggle at how long it took her and I am enormously impressed. NBNQ is also the maker of the many badges and brooches that people at college are always complimenting me on. So if you have been lusting after my cupcake brooch or Kewpie doll badge head over to her shop to buy one of your very own!

Monday

New project prep

We are two weeks into the semester and I have already disappeared under a mountain of deadlines. There was an essay last week which had to be dragged out of me word by word as is traditional for me, and then a proposal and a production plan. All of which are submitted and so I am feeling a little bit more ready to tackle these projects. Now where do I always start for a new project? With the stationery of course. In desperate need of a little craft therapy I reinstated my sewing machine to its rightful place on my desk and made some new folder covers for my new modules.

I have made these for the last two semesters and I am pretty sure this is my very favourite. I had the stripy fabric in my stash for book covers but I couldn't ever get it to pop right. Well today I was inspired! I added a vertical line of red stitches and some free motion black circles, and ta-da lined paper joy!

I also finished off my very own pink glasses sketchbook. I made one of these for the pop-up shop and was so sad when it sold, I *really* wanted it for me, and as this module calls for a whole bunch of observational drawings, I had the perfect excuse to make my own.
Now I am all stocked up on pretty things to work in I am off to work in them.

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