Sunday, 1 December 2013
Sunday, 24 November 2013
Sunday, 17 November 2013
I had pretty much made up my mind to hand in my notice at school to leave at Christmas and sitting through the tedious In-Service-Training-Day made me pluck up the courage to inform the Head of my decision. I have decided that there is nothing new in Education, just new jargon! I thought I would feel guilty about moving on but in fact I feel relieved that I will be able to concentrate on quilting full time again. I plan to take at least the next term off to finish off The Book, crack on with my totems and do more customer quilts. I won't rule out doing the odd day of Supply Teaching for pocket money here and there if it is local and they pay me a decent rate ;)
I now have 14 strip-sets for the Beltane totems so I have started looking around for more leather hides. The Scottish tannery where I got a deerskin hide sounded a little bemused at my enquiry for dyed sheep-shaped skins but I would prefer them to be local if possible.
The chain-piecing is all done for my solids bed quilt so I can now work on the blocks if I fancy some easy sewing when I have just a little downtime.
There is a group of ladies coming on Monday for a fun Christmas sewing workshop so I had to write down the instructions for an easy table runner and festive bunting. Space will be tight so I decided to make the "string" for the bunting in advance - all 40 metres of it! Halfway through the project I remembered that I had a Simplicity Bias Tape Maker so I fed the 2" wide by 20 metre length through the little machine so that I only had to press one ridiculously long crease with my iron.
While I was in instruction writing mode I wrote out my version of machine-sewn utility binding. Because I have such difficulty understanding directions, I jotted down every detail that I could think of and ended up with a 1000-word essay on the subject. Next I have to take a series of photos then see if someone else can see what I am on about.
While my current Postie will not deliver anything larger than a standard envelope, I have to take umbrage with Fedex's more casual attitude. First they wanted me to pay customs duty on a warranty replacement then they just left the large, valuable item in the wood-shed and fraudulently signed that it had been safely delivered using my neighbour's signature so I won't be recommending their parcel delivery service!
With only a spare day and a half this week I doubt that I will be able to complete the customer quilt that requires invisible stitch-in-the-ditch around lots of applique and mini fillers in every block. Mind you - it might snow...
Sunday, 10 November 2013
As well as the usual circus of after school activities, I also had to fit in a Halloween party, two parents' evenings, two meetings, give a talk and get Fenella to Brownie Camp on time. Everything was written down so that I would not forget where I was meant to be. I came across a fun quiz by the BBC on Facebook that would calculate how stressed the participant was. I answered very honestly but still scored very low for stress levels which indicated that I must be totally chilled out - which is a relief ;)
I created two minor distractions from what I had planned to do in my workshop. Ann showed me a simple block that she had made years ago as a sample where a square was inserted into a fabric aperture and appeared to have no seams. She had forgotten how it was constructed so I challenged myself to work out the method using a hexagon. This proved to be a time-consuming challenge since machine sewn hexagons are tricky enough without trying to fit biased edges into a similarly stretchy opening. I eventually managed to get a tidy sample done using pen marks to line everything up. I suspect that pins may have come in handy but I was determined to come up with a hassle-free solution. I daresay I would become speedier with practice but I admit that it was really fiddly. I just wanted to investigate how it might be to create an entire piece of patchwork with seemingly no seams in case I ever feel the need for a slightly difficult project.
I must have been in a figuring-it-out mood this week as I wrote some more project instructions for The Book. They are still not ready to share but I decided that if the text was drafted then it should only need tweaking after I am ready to get the photos done. "All" I have left to explain to myself and potential readers is binding, zips and bolster cushions with piped ends..!
It is an inescapable fact that Christmas is coming and I remembered that I had bought a simple fabric panel Advent Calendar that had lines of pockets to attach. I decided to get on with it before I go into panic mode at the prospect of fitting in Christmas shopping. I have now decided that these simple panels are meant to look rubbish. The pockets are apparently supposed to be sewn on first then a little minimal quilting should finish it all off. All I could see were puckers and lumpy bits so I added rickrack and embroidery before I was satisfied that it looked reasonable. Maybe one day I will get around to designing something neater where all of the background is quilted first before any pockets are applied - or I could just buy a chocolate one.
"Odin's Trilogy" has been juried into Road to California in January so I will have to think about sending that off in good time to avoid the Christmas post. I might even send it off to the WMQFA museum in Cedarburg so that it is in the correct country before January.
I have still only reached 11 completed yellow/green wonky strip-sets despite feeling as though I have been working on them for ages. I have decided that 14 of these slightly wider units should be enough then it will be time to source some more coloured hides. I am not sure whether I can face sewing as many beads onto those as the original white goatskin that I used for "Imbolc" but I will worry about that later or even come up with an alternative plan.
Sunday, 3 November 2013
Sunday, 27 October 2013
Sunday, 13 October 2013
The week started off mundanely enough with bill paying and getting the bump in the Landy straightened out. On Tuesday my class of 6 year olds made pizzas in two mini ovens in between reading, PE and Music. They even managed to keep the dough off the carpet!
The school where I have been doing long term supply cover asked me to stay on until at least Easter. I said that I would stay until Christmas then decide, depending on how my other projects are getting on. They are even willing to accommodate my trips next year if necessary. I feel like this is a commitment that seems to be stretching out indefinitely. On one hand it is good to know that a regular income is coming in but the school days are getting in the way of quilting and writing.
Late on Tuesday night I was delighted to receive an email from MQX Pacific North West Quilt Show which informed me that "Odin's Trilogy" had won a prize. I had to wait until after the awards ceremony on Wednesday evening, Oregon time, to discover that it was awarded 2nd place in the Solo Artist category.
It is thrilling to receive an award from a prestigious American show and read complimentary comments on Facebook. The organisers of MQX are so professional that the results were posted on their website immediately after the prize-giving dinner and they even managed to send out the judging sheets as PDF documents while the show was still running. The kudos of winning that prize has really encouraged me to keep going with my ambitious henge project and keep on track with the Ebook.
I always try to make the most of the two days in the middle of the week that I can devote to quilting. I managed to piece 9 autumn strip-sets and also made a start on the Peppered Solids scrappy side project. I re-worded my book's preface and crossed a few topics off my list. The main things to tackle next are projects and diagrams.
A major distraction has been reacquainting myself with my Smartpen since I had completely forgotten how to use it. The Smartpen can record sound - if the reader has Adobe Reader then they can click on any part of the diagram and the audio description will correspond with what has been drawn. I am still messing about with the type of diagram that I want to include in the Ebook. The easiest thing to do would be to draw everything in ink and scan it in but I am keen to animate the diagrams if possible. I have determined that I will need to do lots of examples then see what format my quilty friends prefer...