In the Studio:: On tossing out and starting fresh

This past week I did an extensive studio clean-up and scrapbooking supply organization (don’t get too excited, still not quite done with that part but it’s coming along nicely).  I have a pile of sewing projects to start/finish and a list of layouts and albums both digi and paper to work on, oh and hello…December Daily will be upon us before we know it – ahem!

I have been vexed by a dress that I sewed in April, and it has been in the pile and on the list since then.

Enter McCalls M5890

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I had a lot of trouble with my sewing machine which resulted in not a great sewing outcome for this garment… the fit was OK and I wasn’t as wild about the fabric as a long dress, and the topstitching was horrible due to said machine problem (since having machine thoroughly cleaned this fall, the problems have all resolved themselves…magic!)  and I just wasn’t feeling it.  at.  all.   For months I’ve been going back and forth… can I fix the topstitching?  Should I just make a skirt out of it (I have about a yard extra to make waistbands etc…) and try and salvage something?  Do I even like the pattern anymore?  Do I like the fabric anymore?

Answers to above ?’s ??  No fixing the topstitching… No to the skirt, it’s just too contrived…No to salvage….No to the pattern, at least the top of the dress, don’t like how the neck/arm/capsleeve came together weirdly…No to the fabric, maybe for a t-shirt or shorts but not a dress, plus, it’s winter now ugh.

So here is my answer to the above conundrum:

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Yep…86’d the whole thing… including the extra fabric…and I crossed it off my list.  I have to say, it was really hard to just toss it in the trash.  The save-every-scrap part of me was screaming but for the good of my sewing karma, it had to go.

I feel so much better now.

On to the next project!

Have you ever totally trashed a project?  Was it freeing or guilt inducing?

 

Making-Modern Half Square Triangle Quilt Along

I’ve been broadening my podcast horizons lately and have started listening to the “Modern Sewciety” podcast and I love it, Stephanie has such a lovely way of chatting with her guests about quilting and the quilt world (which I admittedly do not know much about).  I have made a number of quilts over the years but would not consider myself a “quilter” because, well, I didn’t use an established pattern, I made everything up and made my own patterns. And, I don’t quilt as in put the three layers together and hand stitch them on a quilting frame the size of my dining room table…no thank you.  I have quilted smaller quilts on my home sewing machine, tied a number of larger quilts and sent one out to Nebraska to be machine quilted, hmmm funny still didn’t consider myself a quilter. Well, I guess that is all about to change with this quilt-a-long I heard about on Stephanie’s podcast a few weeks ago.   I’m embarking on the Modern Half Square Triangle (HST) Quilt Along this year courtesy of  Alyce  at  Blossom Heart Quilts .

2 blocks per month x 12 months will equal enough squares for a nice sized quilt.  I’ve pulled fabrics from my stash and purchased just a few pieces to round out the color palette, I’ve also purchased a light grey fabric with white printing that will be the background fabric in each block, I am waiting until the top is done to decide on the sashing and binding fabrics.

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Aren’t they pretty?!  I went with very highly saturated colors for the most part which I think will give some nice contrast against the background.

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Aaanndd….here is my first block!  Yay!  I have had that dark blue fabric for YEARS!  I’ve been hoarding it as it’s one of my all-time favorites but now it has found it’s perfect home as part of the new quilt!  The block is a little rough around the edges as I need to “true” the block up, I’m waiting to do that until I purchase a 12.5″ square ruler specifically to that task.  But it’s done!  It didn’t take forever!  It didn’t make a huge mess!  Everything went back onto the shelf until it’s time for the next block!  Win Win Win!

What have you been making this weekend?!

 

In the Studio: knitting a Scottish Reel

Last summer I was able to spend a weekend at Squam Art Workshop  (I’m super excited that I went for a whole week this year!).  During the Vendor Faire, I spotted this gor-ge-ous cowl at the Knitspot/BareNakedWools booth.   It looked so complicated, it was beautiful, I even loved the name…Scottish Reel…so romantic!  I thought there was no way I would be able to make it  (note to self:  you know more than you think you do)  It’s even beautiful draped on a mannequin…f55adef2704ab2be80586d968cbfb0d7.image.450x337The lovely gal who helped me was so encouraging…  her:  Can you knit and purl?  me:  yes, definitely   her:  have you ever knit in the round?  me:  of course   her:  then you can make this, it’s only knit and purl   me:  whaaaat??? no way… I’ll take one !

So all last fall and part of the winter, I worked on my Scottish Reel…with this beautiful ghillie yarn (which is fingering weight…very fine!) on size 4 needles (I think the smallest I’ve worked on yet).  I knit watching TV, at friends houses, at karate practice, on airplanes…everywhere! And I finally finished it….this spring…and it’s sat in my studio waiting to be blocked and be ready to wear this fall.   Aaaaand finally….it’s all done!!  So excited to wear this as the cooler weather sets in, I have more yarn leftover to make a smaller version or something else.  It’s so pretty and I will say, hides some of my patterning mistakes quite nicely thank you!  It’s also lightweight and warm and big enough to wrap around twice and still be able to pull part of it up for a hood….love love love.

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Here is the link to the pattern from Knitspot for the Scottish Reel Cowl  and the beautiful ghillie yarn  or you can buy the whole thing as a kit!

Now, go make something!

 

Squam Art ::  The magic of Nicola Taylor

I really can’t tell you when I first learned of Nicola’s ethereal images, but they captured my imagination from the first time I saw them.  I had decided to go to the fall Squam Art Workshop partly for scheduling and partly because the workshop offerings were not really fiber-based (the June Squam offerings skew much more toward the fiber arts in general) but collage, and mixed media and jewelry making and photography.  Things that were not in my comfort zone.  At.  All.  Time to experience something new.

I was soooo excited to see that she was coming all the way over from North Yorkshire in  England to teach at Squam and I was fortunate enough to take a workshop with her.  “Finding your Inner Muse”.  Que the hand clapping and jumping up and down.  If that wasn’t enough, there were two of us in the Thursday class so we got to spend loads of time on our projects.

First up… Finding our muse.  We had brought/collected items that had some meaning for us, that we were drawn to….of course we had each brought many things, so we had to whittle them down to 6 (ok, 7 snuck one in ) write about each of them, create kind of a collage and then form a statement to guide our work.  (It was really much more in-depth and thoughtful, trust me this is the cliff-notes version)

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After lunch it was time to take the photos that evoked our muse.  Let me just say at the outset that I love to take pictures but I am in no way a professional photographer.  I couldn’t get my (just purchased and taken out of the package) remote shutter release to work, my camera was a little wonky on the tripod (which I had used several times before ) and my long lens decided to stop working… oh and did I mention that it started to rain…and Nicola had to tutor me on the proper way to fling fabric to make it look effortless

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…in the rain, when you’re on the dock in your bare feet and a nightgown and a prom dress rolled up underneath for a petticoat…It was fun anyway and Nicola and our helper and my classmate were lovely and encouraging and so so patient with everything…and I’m very happy with my images… just a little bit of magic and a whole lot of learning.

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When we were done with my photos, we worked on several photos of my classmate who was expecting her first baby and wasn’t sure she would ever have a photo of herself expecting.  We made the most beautiful photos for her and then we all had a good little weep.

Sublime.  Divine.  Nicola’s magic on the moors transferred to a lake in northern New Hampshire.  Thank you Nicola for your grace and generosity in sharing your work and yourself, it was a day I won’t soon forget  xo

Squam Love

I have been delaying writing this post because, really, I am having a wee bit of difficulty putting my weekend at Squam Art Workshops into words.  To be honest, last year I attended the Ravelry weekend at Squam Art Workshops and I felt a little lost as it seemed like everyone there already knew 100 other people, and their knitting was a.maze.ing.  I knew no one and I was swatching an afghan.  Then I met my cabin mates for the night and got in to the swing of things, and shopped at the ArtFair, and I felt a little better.  Still not super-thrilled …. but, I decided I really wanted to give it another shot.  I had heard about SAW since it’s inception and I wanted to go and have the entire Squam experience.   I’m so glad that I listened to that little voice inside that said … go…give it another go…you will get so much out of it…this was the year.

I packed up the big grey bus and headed north to Squam Lake, to a big cabin called El Dorado and a big gang of fabulous, crazy women and a chance to make art for the weekend.  And it was sublime and relaxing and oh so much fun.

The best parts??  here ya go…

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*magical woodland-where fairie houses appear in the night and wood sprites leave wreaths to mark the trails (sorry so blurry!)

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*magnificent northern lake-complete with haunting calls of an elusive loon

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*kindred spirits ready with a smile, a hug, a glass of wine and hours to sit on a dock or in front of the fire and talk about life, art, and the essence of being alive

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*phenomenal teachers to guide you on your artistic explorations with kindness and generosity

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*a glimpse of the universe in the milky way and the northern lights against a background of infinite stars

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*time to make art, to laugh, to walk, to swim, to chat by the fire, or just to be quiet and listen (photo by cjweinstein)

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The gathering of like minded giving souls is magic.  The setting is sublime. The lake will be calling us back again, I know.  It was lovely and restorative and far far too short.  Thank you Squam…see you next year!  xo.