Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Clogged Creativity...

Do you ever feel like you have tons of creativity just below the surface.  It's there, you just can't access it, almost like its clogged -- just like a drain.  Everyday life is just sitting there like the water stuck in the sink, not moving, just containing the creativity so that it can't flow.  Customer quilts that need to be quilted, phones calls that won't stop ringing, emails waiting (sometimes for far too long), laundry piled up to the ceiling, insurances that need to be quoted, bills needing to be paid, taxes that need organizing, schedules that need updating, dog goobers on the wall (how the hell did that get there), dust bunnies so big you should be charging them rent, and don't even get me started on the unknowns in the back of the frig -- you know, every day life.  Don't look so shocked, you too have these issues, they may differ slightly, but they are the same issues.

Creativity gets clogged by all that crap!

In the back of my mind (similar to the frig) are old ideas that never got seized, new ideas floating and wondering if they will ever be born.  All over the house are notebooks, in almost every room -- FULL of ideas, sketches, doodles, words, thoughts... creativity in some form or another.  What I need to find is the balance between everyday life and the creativity.  I need a day with Drain-o... just to move the clog at a schedule time and let the creativity flow.  I also need an assistant... not for the creativity, one that I can leave all this cleaning, phone calling, and organization to.  We know that's not happening anytime soon -- besides, I'm a nut (really) and suffer from anxiety so if anyone tries to move my stuff, palpitations... okay, that's another post, another day -- and no, you will not see me on an episode of Hoarders.  They secretly created that show to keep people like me in line so that we never cross over!

But back to the creativity clog... I am making a serious attempt to finish all my UFOs that are laying around the house.  This is partially due to the clog, and also due to the fact that I am becoming a quilting snob.  I no longer want to follow commercial patterns, I only want to do my own stuff -- I know, wow, come back down to earth sweetie, the airs a little thin up there!  But seriously, I want to do more competition pieces and you really need to have your own stuff, or at least elaborate on a pattern of some sort.  See, told you... SNOB!  This doesn't mean I'll never buy another pattern, I have a long (very long) list of patterns I'd still like to make, just not right now -- going through this snobbish phase.  And I honestly think that by clearing out all these UFOs it will make room (mentally and physically) for new creativity to bloom - or at least that's what I'm hoping!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bobbin work - longarm style

So last week I had a few minutes to spare (no, not really, but I used them for myself anyway) and I decided to attempt bobbin work on the Gammill.  I knew after taking Bonnie McCaffrey's class (see previous post) I would run with this because the amount of ideas already popping out of my brain is insane -- I wish the extra minutes in my day would balance with the ideas in my head -- then I might get ahead of myself... maybe.

So anyway, let's share -- well, I'll share, you read... 

We'll start with one full M bobbin of YLI Candlelight thread (super cool stuff).

Now I'll share what the stitch out of one full M bobbin looks like. Not much, but the effect is absolutely awesome.

Remember, we're working from the back so to help me stitch my name I used a piece of stabilizer.

And here's a close up peek at some of the detail.  Don't worry about those little glittery feathers in the bottom right corner -- I'll get to them later.

So after the first bobbin full I was happy, but not thrilled, I still had some tweeking of tensions to do.  So round two started:

Still not perfect... even more adjustments, and

Viola!  Now I was a happy girl!  Not too much build up, good stitches, perfect in my little world.  So, what do I try next... Superior Glitter thread.

So the Glitter thread wasn't as happy as the Candlelight with the current settings.  That is another day's spare moments.  I was happy with the adjustments for the Candlelight so I left that bobbin case as is.  I'll be ordering some more Candlelight thread and I'll be using in on my latest UFO that I worked on over the weekend.

I had a mexican pinwheel feathered star (Marsha McCloskey pattern) that had been sitting around collecting dust.  So I pulled it out -- this is what it looked like (actually is was extremely wrinkly so I gave it a real quick pressing):

Then I worked on it over the weekend, and now it looks like this (still wrinkly):

It is not a masterpiece, there are quite a few things wrong with the star -- hey, Marsha did warn me on the cover of the book with her statement of "really hard blocks that take a long time to make" -- she was not kidding - it really should have said Karen, you've got attention problems,can't follow directions, and don't always read the entire pattern, this is NOT the book for you.  And to be honest, I never finished the block her way -- the center lemoyne is hand-appliqued because after three tries it still didn't work right!  Adjust and move on!  I may add some little circles here and there -- not sure yet, waiting til it tells me.  This will be my bobbin work debut quilt -- you can see it is begging for bobbin work right?  I'm really hoping they have black Candlelight thread... really hoping!  More to come on this one.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Synchronicity, coincidence, fate -- call it what you may.  Everything happens for a reason.  I say this a lot, mostly because it is true.

Let me start with that fact that I don't usually take classes, for a few reason, namely my ADD - it is very hard for me to stay focused long enough to learn and also to not disturb the rest of the class.  This mainly is why I very rarely sign up for classes, also because I'm finicky -- the class must be a technique that I don't know, it can't just be yet another way to fuse something -- I've got to come out of that class saying wow, I can really use this in my creative process.  So, in my history of quilting to date I have taken two classes.  The first was a week-long retreat with Sharon Schamber -- you can read all about it on my other blog (just search Oliver and/or Sharon Schamber retreat as there are way too many posts to link each one).  Anyway, that class was where Oliver was born and started a special spark in my creative genius.  My second class was just yesterday.  One of the guilds to which I belong had signups for a class with Bonnie McCaffrey.  Well, turns out, so many people signed up that they had to hold a lottery as there were only 20 spots in the class.  I was lucky enough to be chosen in the lottery.   Before we get to the synchronicity part.... let me tell you, I suck at domestic machine quilting.  Yep, totally suck!  There is a good reason why I'm a longarm quilter, no one in their right mind would possibly even bother to look at anything I'd quilted free motion on the domestic.... don't believe me?  Let me share my practice piece that I did at home so as to not totally embarrass myself in class

Okay, stop it!  Pick yourselves up off the floor, stop laughing, wipe the tears from your eyes, and say it with me... I suck!  I think back to all those quilts I quilted on the domestic and say how?  But then I realize because all I did was meander, easy peasy!  Now my brain only wants to do amazing things and my domestic capabilities are nil.  So after my left brain explained this to my right brain I felt much better, and could totally accept my sucky stitches.

So starts Bonnie's class...  did I mention I was supposed to follow a line?  Oh no!  A line, and I was supposed to stay on it, can't be done!  Here is my wiggly, giggly, oh so glittery project:

I must say, the thread Bonnie suggests is YLI Candlelight... LOVE!  I also must admit that I can't wait to try this technique on the longarm.  I came away from this class with so many ideas blooming, the only difference was they were blooming in the longarm garden.

So, a little paint, some beads and in only three hours I had a super cute new technique piece of fabric, oh, and also a cute pic of me and Bonnie... notice she's the cute one, me, I'm the one with frizzy hair, sixteen chins, and googly giggly smile and thanks to magic of photography I can now see how much weight I really need to lose -- another day another post.

So, if you're new to this world and haven't heard of Bonnie, check out her website so many fun and exciting things!!

So, on to the synchronicity part...
I was honored enough to be included in dinner with Bonnie and two of my quilty buds.  Wow, what a fantastic evening... dinner did go on for almost 4 hours, I'm sure the restaurant was more than happy to see us leave, but the ideas, discussions, and general wonderfulness that happened was great!  One amazing thing that happened was Bonnie decided to do a vidcast of our art group, Journeys Thru Art, and showcase our door challenges.  What!  Holy crapola, you aren't kidding!  So... breathe, yes, we spent this morning filming and laughing, and nervous knot bellying (oh wait, maybe that was only me), and then we even had lunch!  Bonnie is an wonderful person, and really does make you feel at ease in front of the camera.  Haha... I say this now, when I see the vidcast I'm sure I will be totally freaked out by myself, but we'll deal, when it's time!  Oh, and the best part, I'm sick with an awful cold and my voice is equivalent to a strange squeeky toy.  So when you finally watch the vidcast, please remember I was sick, I really don't squeek!

And, for the totally synchro part....
I've been talking and talking about doing videos of my longarm quilting... guess what?  No, really, guess!  Okay... Bonnie just happens to be a fantastic videographer!  So, it's not happening yet, but soon, okay sometime in the kinda' near future, Bonnie will be filming me... yep!  Just as soon as I can figure out a plan you'll be able to view, rewind, fast forward... just don't pause, I am positive I'll look awful or have some seriously stupid look on my face, really, I do that, so please don't pause unless it's to look at stitches! 

Not to worry, I will keep you all informed when all of this is happening.  I will most certainly send out a link when the vidcast is on her website.  And I will most definitely let you know when, where, and how to purchase my video... now, to contain it all and come up with a plan...