Tuesday, March 29, 2011

well hidey ho!

Ok, so i don't write. I know. You feel neglected. You think, is it me? Have i done something wrong?

oh no, my friend. I've just embraced an old hobby, and frankly--its time consuming.

That and a friggin ark-load of rain has been dumped on SOCAL this season, and i guess i've sinned a lot lately, because my studio flooded more often than naught.

But puddles aside, i've decided to take up quilting again. Business has been slow, and my inspiration weak, so i embraced an old friend. I used to quilt in college--well, actually when i got kicked OUT of college, but that is another story-- but then i got my crap together, developed a life, had a career and I hung with a hip crowd that frankly turned its nose up at my quilting skills. I mean, there aren't too many high falutin' drunk quilting poets out there...

And then i got married, had a kid and quilting took a backseat to drinking regularly, and raising a kid without killing him.

You see, quilting requires time and patience--things which i certainly lack. Oh sure, there are projects you can make in a day, but my projects always seem to border on the grand, so i spent the first two months of this year (barring the need for biblical waders) working on some quilt blocks which i will show off in a later post. After i finished them *all 24 of them* i decided i needed a break. That's the cool thing about quilting, once you finish one part, you can take a break from it for a while, and join up again with it later. So, once i assemble that bad boy, you'll be the first to know because it will be the first patchwork quilt i've created this decade--hell i think it'll be the first one i've made in the 21st century.

The last two days however, (i should add the caveat here that my studio time is limited to Benji
at school time--2.5 hours m-th--that's it. Maybe a little more on the weekend if i'm lucky. so what might take me a day normally, takes me 3-4.) i've been working on my new passion: mug rugs. They're like mini quilts for your coffee. Technically, they should be large enough for your
mug and a tasty treat. Mini placemats if you will, for the coffee set. (or tea--i don't discriminate. I've been known to have a cuppa from time to time, although most of my tea forays usually involve a toddy of some sort...) Anyway, i took the scraps from the afore mentioned quilt blocks and used them in a crazy quilt kinda way to make these mats. A few ended up more "patchwork-y" because i had a lot of triangles left over. But i didn't care. I just wanted to use up the scraps (thanks to that wholesome American/Puritan frugality bred into me by my German ancestry--wait...what?) and i didn't want to have to worry about setting points or matching seams. So, as you can see here, they are a little...well...they'll serve a purpose, ok?

I also was using this mug rug opportunity to practice my free-motion quilting. For the non-sewer, my sewing machine has the capability to sew freely in any direction, etc.So, if i had more skills, i could do that fancy quilting you might see in quilts at fancy quilt shows or stores. Except that it's NOT a skill i currently have, so i need to practice--A LOT. Enter the mug rugs: the perfect venue.

You'll see on this one a really texturized kind of quilting in a willy-nilly fashion. No, i wasn't drunk--it's supposed to look like that. It's called stippling, and it's a way to quilt a large area. In all honesty, i don't know why stippling came about--prolly to keep the originally cotton batting from shifting or breaking down. But it's harder than it looks. You have to keep the line continuous, curvy and not cross any other lines. Like this:

looks easy on paper, because it is. Add a needle, thread and a presserfoot and it gets complicated REALLY quick.

I like this one because it just feels like an anarchy piece. Yeah! fuck traditional quilting!

Being raised in a pragmatic household, i recognize these as practice pieces, and as such, will toss them in a drawer until i need a small placemat for my tea and crumpet. Except for a couple of them. I told my best friend Stump she could have a couple if she wanted them. Still want one, Stump? Or will you start looking for an excuse--"oh, i don't drink liquids anymore, but thanks!"

More mug rugs are in my future plans. But i also need to make some clothes for my kid.

--next up, the chronicles of the "what the hell are you eating to make you grow this fast?!" kid.