I know I am crowing about the tiniest of progress, but I have to take finishes, even semi-finishes, where I can get them.
I finished Clue 3, which was a surprise, because I thought I would have to cut more 2″ squares to finish more four patches. I thought I had about 40 more to make. They were done and I didn’t figure it out until Sunday when I counted all the 4 patches up and came up with 171. That means I have 3 extra.
I am pleased, but I know the joy will be short-lived since I have to make more Peaky and Spikes next similar to the ones I made before.
I spent most of the day with my in laws cleaning my MIL’s house. She is 91 and lives alone, but needs some extra help now and again. I spent my time cleaning her fridge and running errands for her upstairs. Everyone else worked on the garden except YM who scrubbed her outside stairs and the tunnel to her front door.
The first thing I did when I got home was to take a shower, but after that I had several hours to sew. I decided to leave Sunday all free for something new and to try to cross some to dos off my list.
I had an idea for the Color My Quilt pieces I owe Gerre and Annemarie, so I decided to work on those.
They didn’t go completely as planned. However, I ended up with something I think will work with the other pieces. Annemarie received pieces at the June meeting, which I missed, so I really don’t know what Annemarie’s shards looked like. I hope the apricot I added gave her the look of southwest without the coyotes and saguaros feel of kitschy Southwest.
The quilt, Make a Splash, is a free pattern on the Moda Blog (scroll down as once you click on the pattern an Adobe Acrobat window will open in your browser, so there is no direct link).
It took me awhile to get it done. With my travel and various things happening, I only got to it last Thursday. I snuck in some time after work to do a bit of applique’. I am pleased that my part is finished and I can hand it off to Christina again. Don’t get me wrong; I am always pleased to help the guild. I just have so much going on right and I felt like I was letting Christina down by not getting it finished. Now it is and I can move on to the 2,000 projects I have going.
I know you probably roll your eyes at the way I go on a bit about donating blocks for someone else to make donation tops. Quilts do actually get made from these blocks, which is great and you do know that I do make tops as well.
I forgot to mention the work of mine that Erin finished last month.
You might remember the Retreat Donation top? This is truly a team effort as I took shards Maureen was giving away at the Retreat and made them into a top. Erin did a great job quilting and binding it. Two guilds, three people = truly a team effort.
She also finished a top that I don’t think I made, but was made from some of the single blocks I contributed. I am pretty sure I ddin’t make the top as there is no sashing. I usually put sashing between the 16 patch blocks to give them space.
Anyway, I really appreciate Erin’s work as it is a tangible example that we are working as a team to contribute to those in need.
Yes, I am starting another project. Mostly I am starting it because Daisy said I should and then the omens were good. I found a layer cake I liked at $15 off and found some American Made Brands background at a $1 off per yard. Perhaps this will be boyish enough for one of the nephews?
I couldn’t have done it without my recent travel. I got the layer cake (left) at Fabric Depot in Portland. That place is huge-HUGE and they were having a pretty good sale. Yes, both new items add to my fabric usage totals, but I am hopeful that I’ll be able to finish something larger than a handbag soon.
The charcoal is from Yoder’s in Shipshewana, Indiana. They had the whole line, which was awesome! I got a bit more than I needed, but you know, mistakes. The fabric is now washed so I can start cutting.
The quilt is called the Layer Cake Explosion. You can find the free pattern on Craftsy. Also, check out Daisy’s blog for more information. I did look at the templates for the alternate block and I am thinking I might do something else. I am not a fan of the way that little triangle looks. We will see.
The pattern calls for the Creative Grids Stripology Ruler. There is a YouTube video which shows you how to use this ruler. As much as I love rulers, I don’t think I will be using it. I think I will use my Accuquilt, though it is possible I don’t have the right die for the strip size. Stay tuned.
I have a very tiny update for the En Provence Mystery quilt. I have enough of the Peaky & Spike blocks finished to make 9 patches.
In fact, I may be completely finished with the Peaky & Spike blocks. I don’t know what goes in the corners and haven’t taken the time to look it up.
This block, the only one I have laid out, is not sewn. Laying it out, however, gets it closer to being sewn. I hope you don’t think this is a poor showing!
I have to say that it occurred to me that I might want to use the blues from the Blue Lemonade Hunting & Gathering box for the colored 4 patches. If the clue asks for 2 inch squares, I’ll be golden or In like Flynn. I have to find the clue and look it up.
I finally made some ATCs! After missing several meetings, then not having time to make any before the October meeting I feel like I have reached the summit of a high mountain. Additionally, I used the charms that have been sitting on my cutting table (or falling off repeatedly) for months!
I wanted a fall theme to go with the leaves and it is still Fall, though it feels like winter some days.
Today is the CQFA meeting, so we will see how they are received.
Bonnie Hunter announced her 2016 mystery quilt*, En Provence, today. I haven’t ever done one of her mystery quilts, but I always collect the instructions, thinking that I will do one some day, after the fact. I am pleased to watch Pam and Daisy and Valerie and others do the steps. They have made some gorgeous quilts.
I have a great deal of respect for Bonnie for creating a new mystery quilt every year. I just haven’t made the plunge. I did Scrapitude, which I love. That was a mystery quilt and I am not sure I could top it.
Normally, I am quite confident choosing colors for a quilt. One problem I have with mystery quilts is choosing the colors. Scrapitude was great because it was a scrap quilt and the background was clearly defined. In this one, I don’t know if the neutrals will be the background. I don’t know where the green and yellow will end up, though Bonnie says the two colors should have good contrast with each other. I appreciate her mentioning such tips and tricks. However, I don’t want to spend time on a quilt only to have it end up as a mushy mess at the end.
My color preferences are much brighter than hers. I always wonder if they would work. I did some Palette Builder work on her inspiration photos and was glad to see that she had made good choices.
So, I don’t know if I will make the mystery quilt. I will collect the directions and I did order the new and fancy ruler (I love rulers!), so I am ready to go. Stay tuned.
*As you may know, the link above will not work after ~June 2017. You will need to work along with her to get all the pieces.
I spent the Sunday after the workshop finishing the Cargo Duffle.
I really, sincerely disliked all the prep work, but was thrilled to see how this bag turned out. it has substance. I was going to give it away, but I am keeping it. I really like the fabrics I chose, even though I chose the green because I thought I would give it away. I love that text fabric.
I am also thinking of making another one. I know. I know. I am crazy, but I keep thinking about how I would make a second one differently. I want to see if I can do it again better. ALSO, I do have to make a bag for one of the guild officers.
For example, after cutting out the straps, I would just sew them. After cutting out the pockets, I would sew them to the lining. I think it would be less confusing. Yes, I would still have to quilt a bunch of pieces and panels,, but I think it would be easier. It might not have worked when I didn’t know how to make the bag, but now that I have an idea, I think it would work better for me.
I am behind in posting, but I also don’t want to bore you by posting on one project or topic day after day.
You know that I have been prepping for the Cargo Duffle. It seemed interminable, but paid off. On the first Saturday in August I went to the BAMQG workshop and worked on assembling the Cargo Duffle. I arrived in good time after only getting a little lost*. 😉
Gerre arrived right after I did and we quickly decided to sit together in the back of the room. That way we could have a whole table to ourselves. There was a bit of table shortage because their day camp program was using the long rectangular tables we like. We ended up with two tables, mostly because I decided we needed a separate table on which to layout all the pieces we had prepped. It is always great to work with Gerre. On the day of the workshop, I was on edge (not sure why – a lot going on, maybe) and she kept talking me down off the ledge. I reciprocated the favor by keeping her calm when parts of the bags weren’t going as planned.
It was also good to see that some people had done less of their homework than I did, not to be mean to them; it just reduced my stress a bit.
We started out with the slip pockets and my first problem was with what pieces needed to be used. Jaime helped and once I got that problem sorted, the “which piece was which” problem sorted itself out. Even though I had all the pieces labeled, with this bit of help, I had a frame of reference.
Seeing what other people were doing and having access to a teacher also made me calm down quite a bit.
My first huge accomplishment was finishing the lining. Yes, I finished the interior slip pocket and the interior zipper pocket, which help to make up the lining, but seeing a real 3D item made from all that prep work me very happy.
I made mistakes and had to rip, which I am sure others were doing as well, even though I didn’t see them. I also had to change the way the main zipper worked, which Gerre talked me through. I may post the steps for you later. Not sure, but stay tuned.
Still, it was a super long day and I didn’t finish completely, but made really good progress. By the end of the day I only had to sew the rest of the exterior together and then insert the lining. I really don’t have a lot to complete and feel like I accomplished quite a bit by the time the day was over. Do I wish I had finished? Yes, of course, but I have to be happy with what I was able to do.
Gerre finished her bag and it looks great! Cheryl, Amanda and Karen all finished their bags as well.
As you know I have been working on the homework for the Noodlehead Cargo Duffle*. This is one of the most difficult bags I have ever made, including the Liesl Backpack, though I think the directions are the problem and not the actual bag. Also, there is a lot of prep and, as you know, I like to get straight to the sewing. As I have said, the directions are too brief for me.
These handles can be used for other types of bags, so this tutorial creates a useful skill.
In this case, I couldn’t understand the directions for making the handles. I looked at them several times until I decided just to try what they said and see if that worked. I did what the directions said, though they didn’t make sense, and the directions actually worked! Me or the directions? You decide.
Since I think the pattern instructions just need a bit of explanation for those of us who need to know more why in their patterns, I wrote up a tutorial.
Cut strips according to the directions or according to your needs. I made mine a little longer as I wanted to have more carrying options.
2. Sew strips together. They are not the same width so they will not line up, width-wise, exactly.
3. Press seams open. This is not critical and if you don’t want to, press how you like. I press seams open on handles, because I want to reduce bulk. You get a lot of bulk in handles, especially if you add some kind of filler like cotton webbing, which I used in these straps, or Soft & Stable or any other kind of interfacing. Pressing the seams reduces bulk.
Optional: At this point you can add some ShapeFlex to the handles to add strength. If you add ShapeFlex, cut a piece that covers both strips and covers the seam. It will add strength to the seam.
4. Fold the long side of the raw edges towards the center seam. I folded the Pearl Bracelets green piece first, but where you start doesn’t really matter, I don’t think.
5. Press fabric so there is a crease in the fold.
6. Next, fold the second long side, raw edge towards the center seam (yes, it is slightly off center, which is part of what confused me). This is the fabric (text fabric) with the smaller width.
7. Make sure to line both raw edges up with seam you just pressed open. Each different fabric will be a different folded width.
7. Press just folded fabric so there is a crease in the fold.
8. Fold the fabric with the smaller width (mine is the alphabet fabric) up towards the wider fabric (green Pearl Bracelets). There will be some green showing, which is what you want.
9. Press so you have crisp folds. Some of the wider fabric (green Pearl Bracelets, in my case) will show. This detail makes an accent.
10. Now unfold and add your cotton webbing or other stiffener. I used 1/5″ cotton webbing. I had never used this and was pleased at how well my machine sewed through it.
11. Refold so the cotton webbing does not show.
12. Quilt lines lengthwise, approximately 3/8″ apart, starting with the open seam. This will make the handle is very dense with quilting and add to the strength.
Ta da! You have very nice handles that will be sturdy enough to carry a heavy bag.
Ruth, being the super intelligent woman she is provided a link after I had figured out how to make these handles. I did search, but didn’t come up with the tutorial. I hope you like my instructions for the Cargo Duffle handles, which will, with any luck, come up in search results for others who try to make the Cargo Duffle.
*I really don’t know if the project includes the spelling ‘duffel’ or ‘duffle’. I am going with ‘duffle’ as that is what the dictionary says. You may want to search both, if you do any Google searching in order to get all the results.
I still want to encourage creativity and creative pursuits in YOU via a regular blog post, so here is another effort using The Little Spark book. A few weeks ago, I posted about the first chapter of The Little Spark and how to start to use this book to spark your creativity. I also reminded you that I had reviewed the book in November 2015. If you haven’t bought the book, go buy it NOW.
I feel it is important to nurture creative endeavors in myself. If I can encourage creativity in others, I get a huge bonus. It is so easy to get sidetracked by work, the housework, kids’ activities, the time suck that is the Internet and take no time for yourself. It is so easy to think that creativity is not important. Creative endeavors nurture your soul. If your soul is healthy all the other things you have to do in your life are easier and come out better.
Like in the Creative Prompt Project, any kind of art is appropriate for this creative exercise. If you are a potter or a cartoonist or a weaver, these reviews and exercises will work for you just as well as for someone who sews, makes quilts, draws or paints.
The second chapter in Carrie Bloomston’s book is called Create the Space, thus the second spark is about space. Space is a huge thing for me. For all of my endeavors, whether work or cooking or quiltmaking, I need a conducive space. Sometimes that space is my workroom and sometimes it is the car when I am traveling with DH for #politicalwifery and have my EPP on my lap. Neither of these spaces are ideal, but they work for me at the moment.
In my dreams, I dream of a large loft space with big metal windows. I want an open, bright space with many different tables so I can work on several projects at once and there are few piles on the floor. Yes, of course there are a lot of practical issues with this kind of space, but we are talking about a dream right now.
Bloomston says “Having a good work space cements you to your dreams.” (pg.13) I agree with this, which is why I am not stuck on my dream, but working away in my ok space.
I find that I go to my workspace when I feel like I have had enough of people and need to be alone. “The creative space is a launchpad, refuge, retreat, temple, labyrinth, and safety net. It gives you a sense of purpose.” (pg.13) This is so true for me. I know what to do when I walk up there and if there is any doubt, I always have fabric to iron until I get my head together.
Despite the imperfections of my space, I don’t have the obstacle of moving everyone else’s stuff before I can work (pg.13). That is a huge bonus!! Bloomston says “the Spark might not stick around for two hours of housekeeping. It helps to have the space ready.” (pg.13).
You might not have a separate room, but you can create space with boundaries. You might have to be creative (HA!), but being able to get started the second you have time is really important. Find a drawer or a cupboard where you can separate out your special tools and supplies from the detritus of daily life. “Own it. Mark it. Protect it. In this way, you advocate for yourself, your pursuits, and your special creative time.” (pg.13)
The last sentence brings up a good point. Creativity is good for my sanity, but it is hard to explain that I make quilts to relieve stress, especially when they are large and taking over my house. If I had a larger storage space for my quilts, it would be less of an issue. Out of site, out of mind.
“Clutter doesn’t help.” (pg.14) There is a lot of clutter in space and I know that is not good. Most of it is things I will get to, especially books to review.
I am constantly trying to organize. In my dream workroom, I would have a counter with drawers underneath running around the perimeter of the room, especially if the windows didn’t go all the way to the floor. My current system, if you can call it that, relies heavily bins. (bins need shelves, though, and I need more of those). Bins keep project pieces together. Ideally, I would like to have cupboards, with doors, so I could shut away the clutter, but open them so I could see everything. The fabric closet works like that, but is too small.
As I mentioned above, horizontal space is important, too. I gained a lot when I commandeered the microwave cart (now cutting table) from our remodeled kitchen. It adds 3 ~18″ x 24″ horizontal spaces. Of course, they are stacked, so only one is useful beyond storage. I would want many LARGE tables. I would want to be able to layout my projects as desired and flit between them.
Make a list of your wants and needs. Think about fresh air, a place to cook a snack, if you are not a baker or chef and your studio is a kitchen. Think about creature comforts, such as a comfy chair an ottoman with a reading lamp.
What does your ideal space look like? The Little Spark is a great book to energize or start your creativity. Please tell me how you light the spark of your creativity.
Nota Bene / Housekeeping: I am not going to tell you all of the details of all of the exercises in the book. It isn’t right for me to give away Carrie Bloomston’s content. You will need to buy the book for that. ( <— It’s easy, just click the ‘buy the book’ link; yes it is an affiliate link, like the ones above**) ???? That isn’t to say that you will get nothing out of the creativity posts that I am writing. You will, if you read through them and think about what I have written. I am using her material as a jumping off point. Her material is valuable and I am adding my own spin to it.
My Improv Round Robin has returned. Ruth had it for a couple of months because I wasn’t at the meeting last month and she wasn’t sure whether to pass it along.
She added the bottom part with the curves. It is an interesting addition.
I am trying to decide whether to try and get more people to work on it or whether I should just do some work of my own and finish it. I have some thoughts:
It needs some space around the edges. The outside top and right side might need some of the turquoise solid to provide some breathing room.
It is definitely not square and I need to figure out what to do about that, if anything.
I want to add more Flying Geese, which I will do myself. Perhaps I will add them on the right.
I am surprised that more people did continue the Flying Geese motif. The time constraints were daunting, however, so I understand.
As I said after the Creative Prompt Project ended, I still want to encourage creativity and creative pursuits in YOU via a regular blog post, but I didn’t want to create any more creative prompts. As I also said, that may change, but for now I am trying different things. I have done a couple of color inspirations as you have seen, but I haven’t found a niche yet. This is probably good as then I won’t get bored. Today, I am going in a different direction, still a creativity challenge, but different than the Creative Prompt Project and the color palettes I have been posting.
Some time ago I wrote a review of the book, The Little Spark by Carrie Bloomston. I just read over the review and the things I wrote at the time were things I still thought were relevant as I reread the book’s introduction and Spark 1 for this creativity post.
I feel it is important to nurture creative endeavors in myself and in others. It is so easy to get sidetracked by work, the housework, kids’ activities and take no time for yourself. It is so easy to think that creativity is not important. Creative endeavors nurture your soul. If your soul is healthy all the other things you have to do in your life are easier and come out better.
Like in the Creative Prompt Project, any kind of art is appropriate. If you are a potter or a cartoonist or a weaver, these reviews and exercises will work for you just as well as for someone who sews, makes quilts, draws or paints.
Housekeeping: I am not going to tell you all of the details of all of the exercises in the book. It isn’t right for me to give away Carrie Bloomston’s content. You will need to buy the book for that. ( <— It’s easy, just click the ‘buy the book’ link; yes it is an affiliate link**) 😉 That isn’t to say that you will get nothing out of the creativity posts that I am writing. You will, if you read through them and think about what I have written. I am using her material as a jumping off point. Her material is valuable and I am adding my own spin to it.
While we may have more time for creative pursuits in our modern times and we have more time to contemplate creativity, decorating and making things beautiful is in our DNA. Bloomston says “The Spark is your creativity and you were born with it. We all were. Humans have always felt its pull. We see it in our oldest art representations — paintings on the walls in the caves in Lascaux in France from 17,000 years ago.” There are early quilts that are beautifully stitched even though rougher stitching would have been just as warm. We can easily buy soft, warm blankets from the local department store and beautifully knitted throws from catalogs yet we still make quilts and knit throws ourselves.
“…your desire to make things is bigger than you.” I flagged this quote when I initially wrote the review and it is still one that sticks in my mind and makes me think. Bigger than me. I wonder about what that means. Is there a creativity hive mind to which I am contributing? How does what I make fit into the larger continuum of creativity? This is something to which I have no answers and am still contemplating. It is a thought that is almost too big for my mind. What do you think?
These are the kinds of topics that Bloomston’s book makes me think about. What is important is that “it comes from our human desire to make things beautiful and meaningful — not for the sake of beauty, but because each decorative mark on that cake or that pot celebrates our existence.” (pg. 7). What you make doesn’t have to be beautiful. You just have to make it. Making things is the point. Having your project come out beautiful is a fabulous bonus.
Whatever your art is, “it will enrich and connect you. It will give your life depth. It will fill you with purpose and sparkle. It will allow you to shine your light.” (pg.7)
If I haven’t convinced you, with the help of Carrie Bloomston, that you are a creative being and you must exercise your creativity in whatever way speaks to you, all I can say is Just Start. Make a mark on a piece of scrap paper with the pen you have to hand. Twist some string into a fancy knot. Just Start.
You won’t be surprised if I tell you that Bloomston’s first spark is on getting started. I think we can all agree that getting started is the hardest part. It is hard to get started being creative. It can be hard to start the next step and it can be especially difficult to start your perfect project, the image in your mind being so perfect that you feel you can never achieve such greatness. You can.
I have engaged in creative pursuits my whole life,s tarting with dime store coloring books and pieces of paper. Now, my creative muscles are usually warm and flexible. I feel like I never stop. I try to plan my project steps in such a way that I know exactly what to do when I step into my workroom. Of course, I have times where I can’t move forward as planned. If I don’t have an image in my mind of the next step, then I can’t make the next step. The image of my mind has to consist of exactly how to put the next pieces together. That doesn’t always happen. Or I can work on my creative pursuits if I am upset or tired or don’t want to work on the planned project or I have to do a step that is challenging in some way.
All of these things make me pivot and I have to make a new ‘start’. Often, I will do some mind sorbet type sewing. Hunting and Gathering is also a great way to make a new start or work on something in between. I often make pieces and parts or cut patches and then stack them up until I have enough to make the quilt I want to make. Making 4patches and 9patches are great examples of hunting and gathering as well as a project that is great when you don’t know what else to do or you need to make a start.
I am very fond of mosaic piecing (this is called ‘made’ fabric by some teacher whose name I can’t remember right now). I use my scraps, generally monochromatically, to make new pieces of fabric, which I, then, cut up and make something else. Often those projects are journal covers.
You can cut the mosaic piecing into squares and then make some great 4patches. You can do something crazy quilted. The point is that you have to start. What you start sewing (or drawing or painting or molding) and if starting means just pushing fabrics through the machine and worrying about what it will be later, then so be it.
The Little Spark is a great book to energize or start your creativity. Please tell me how you light the spark of your creativity.
**By clicking on an affiliate link and purchasing something, you help support the hosting fees and other blog related costs. I do not purchase fabric with the money I receive nor do I pay myself for the writing. I also only recommend items I like and would recommend. Thank you for purchasing through the affiliate links.
As you might have noticed, I ended the Creative Prompt Project last week. You can see all of them by clicking on the tag. It was never intended to be a forever project and, frankly, I lost interest. I am still doing the prompts, but I haven’t posted a response in a long time and I don’t know if I will.
I want to continue to do something creative, inspirational beyond my regular work, but we will have to see what. I don’t quite know yet. For now Fridays might be an off day or a day where I just post another post. I have some books where I might do some of the prompts and talk about that. I just don’t know. I’ll let you know.