I enjoy collecting antique quilts and making reproductions of them both big and small. I've made a few baskets and I'd like to make more. I dabble in knitting and would love to learn rug hooking, but it's hard to find time to do it all. I work in higher education and I love my job. However, I do spend a lot of time dreaming about quilts.
I was a total grump this weekend. Let me blame it on six straight days of rain, too long away from my sewing room and guilt. As you can see from my last post, I went on a bit of a fabric bender the last few weeks and months and had no sewing to show for it. My "studio" (aka the laundry room) was a disorganized mess, there were mounds of new fabric that defied categorization and dust had accumulated everywhere. Besides that, my car was in the shop, the bill was adding up and the loaner they gave me was the equivalent of a tin can with wheels. And its radio didn't work.
I growled at the family that if I didn't get some quality sewing time nobody was going to be happy. They concurred and left me alone. But...cleaning is boring and I was uninspired which only added to the guilt because I did have all that new fabric. I finally cleared most of the clutter (still have to buy more new bins--I need feedback about storage solutions) and was able to cut strips of my new Jo Morton fabrics from the Cinnamon and Spice line and a recent Jo Morton shirtings line whose name escapes me. More guilt because I thought I was being creatively lazy by leaving my color choices up to the fabric companies and looking at the assembled fabrics wasn't really exciting me. So, I gave up and took my bad attitude and two Tylenol pm capsules to bed.
The next morning the sun was shining, I was well rested and I looked at my assembled fabric strips and I think I heard angels humming. Time to get busy and cut some triangles.
Most of my days consist of dozens of emails, telephone messages, meetings, questions without easy answers and talking, talking, talking. This doesn't leave much time for myself and I know many of you are in the same situation. While we are more connected to the rest of the world than ever before, our minds and spirits cannot possibly keep up. In order to cope, I find myself creating my individual world that nurtures my own priorities and limits. Late last month I treated myself to a solo excursion through some fabulous southern California scenery and outstanding quilt shops. Currently, I have no time to quilt, but I was able to set aside time to be inspired (and to shop). I am calling it my Fabrication. My first stop was at Temecula Quilt Company in Temecula, California. This shop was featured in the most recent issue of Quilt Sampler Magazine (their's was the cover quilt). Located in the wine country of southern California, this shop features two of my favorite quilty things: repro fabrics and small quilts. During my visit, there was a group of ladies working together on their individual versions of a very scrappy quilt. I'd love a bright, fun, inspiring shop like this close to where I live. They have some great rolls of fat eighth cuts of fabrics (and smaller!) that enable you to add a lot of variety to your stash without breaking the bank. You can see below that I still did some damage in the breaking the bank area. The next day I drove to the San Diego area and was blown away by the Country Loft. This shop was a combination of quilting fabric (with a specialization in fabrics suitable for primitive quilts) and country decor and accessories, including some antiques. Lucky me, my visit was timed to see the shop decorated for the Christmas holiday. I took advantage of the reasonable prices on old baskets and a great wooden box. They were less expensive than the same items (IF you can find them) on the east coast, although shipping stuff home from the UPS store was outrageous. Here are some beauty shots of most of the quilty goods I bought on my trip in my great new baskets and box. Last stop, but definitely not least, was Fat Quarters Quilt Shop in Vista, CA. This shop has A LOT of bolts of fabric. They have an entire room dedicated to Jo Morton and another dedicated to Judie Rothermel fabrics. I appreciate all the online fabric sources, but how I wish I had easy access to a place that bought entire lines of all the Jo and Judie fabrics so I could get up close and personal with them. This shop has an exceptional website with loads of pictures so you can get a good taste of the shop experience. All of these shops had wonderful, helpful staff members which really make these a "fabrication destination." I cannot wait until I get a chance to go back to California!
Years ago, I took an excellent Baltimore applique class from Mimi Dietrich. The most memorable lesson for me was when she was demonstrating how to handle that excess fabric that bunches up at the points of leaves. She showed us how to stitch up to the point, take a single stitch at the point and then to poke that needle into the excess fabric and s-w-e-e-p it around and under the leaf and say to yourself, "I am in control of this fabric." The control freak part of me loved that lesson.
What the control freak part of me does not like are hospitals and surgery. Nearly two years ago, my hubby suffered a serious heart attack and both of us had to learn that sometimes we have to yield control to medical professionals. It was recommended to him that he have an ICD implanted as an "insurance policy" against sudden cardiac death. Other than the whole serious heart condition thing, this man is a thin, active runner. It took awhile to come around to accepting and agreeing to having machinery stuck in his chest particulary since the need for it wasn't obvious to us, the lay people. Anyway, four weeks ago he finally underwent the procedure and I gathered together the bits of fabric for the first block in the Civil War Bride quilt.
Here's the part that really offended my inner control freak...Hubby was told to eat nothing after midnight and to arrive at the hospital by 11am. We complied and then we waited...and waited...and waited. I felt like we were waiting for the firing squad. Finally, they called him around 2pm, prepped him and then let me come wait with him. So we waited some more. Around 3:30, they moved him to the hallway since he "was almost next." What that means, I am not sure, but I know it does NOT mean you are next. After an hour in the hallway and everyone in the pre-op being taken in for their procedures, the kind (but a bit silly) nurse came to tell us he'd be taken "within the hour." Translation: You are going to be waiting ANOTHER hour. First, I told her how incredibly happy that news made us and then asked for her to kindly move him out of the hallway for his own comfort and to make it easier for the UPS guy to get back and forth. Since the pre-op bays were empty at this point, you'd think she could have figured that one out without me asking, but apparently this was premium real estate so I had to quietly suggest that one of us was going to flip out (hint: it wasn't patient hubby) unless he got some privacy.
Finally, they took him and then I got to go sit alone in the waiting room (the chattering masses we'd met earlier were long gone). Then I was really out of control since I could not hover over him and question everyone who tried to touch him. That's when my Mimi Dietrich lesson kicked in. I was in control of the fabric. Never before had I appliqued with such intensity. My pieces lay flat, my curves were smooth and my points were pointy. I forgot about the time and actually appreciated the fabulous hospital lighting. When his very kind and capable doctor came out to tell me she was finished, I was able to be mature and civil, armed as I was with scissors, needle and tweezers.
I didn't finish block 1 that day and I still have those two funky pieces left to go. But I appreciate the sense of control that applique gave to me.