Monday, July 24, 2006

Goals for Week of July 24th

I said last week that perhaps I should get back to setting weekly goals starting today. So I pulled out my notebook where I've been keeping these lists only to discover it's been 2 months since I've done this. I had no idea it had been so long, but that helps explain the lack of focus or drive towards my work that I've been feeling lately. This attitude of "do whatever because I can't do anything serious until I move" is a bit of a cop-out. The lists must start again, both studio and regular life, or I'll just spin my wheels needlessly.

So both lists got made this morning and I feel better already. Here are my studio goals in no particular order:

1. Sew sleeve and label on Silver Birches.
2. Print pictures for Tech journal and catch up on entries.
3. Machine quilt batting sample
4. Quilt on Lonestar

The first is a housekeeping chore that I would put off indefinitely, or until the piece needed to be exhibited somewhere. Something that can be done in a morning with no thought.

The second is another housekeeping chore but "chore" perhaps puts a negative spin on it. I've always taken extensive notes on processes, but usually filed those in the documentation file of whatever quilt they were used on. Now that I am doing more experimentation producing samples, not quilts, I like the idea of having these records in a single location for easy reference. Adding small pictures to jog a memory that words alone could not has been a good move, especially when the sample is too large to include and may end up being used in a work. The pictures I printed out today are from my painting experiments, and it has been long enough since doing them that I'll have to go back to my blog entries to dredge up the details. While I was at it, I printed out a couple of photos for two recent quilts' documentation files. See? It doesn't take long to find yourself behind on paperwork, but I think it is very important to keep these kinds of records. Plus, it allows me to clean up my computer, deleting jpgs not needed after printing.

The third one shouldn't take long and would get me warmed up for working on my Chinese poem challenge. Making batting samples is something I got into after reading Harriet Hargrave's Heirloom Machine Quilting book and hearing her lecture. Like most quilters, I used polyester batts when I first started quilting, then cotton batts became readily available and preferred for the look I wanted. As I became more knowledgeable and the quilting industry became more attuned to catering to this burgeoning market, I tried out different brands and types of batting. It made sense to me, then, to make up these small samples so I wouldn't be unpleasantly surprised by their performance (like percentage of shrinkage)in a piece that mattered.

Because I both hand and machine quilt, that would mean for every batt I would make at least 2 samples. Then it occurred to me that I only need make one, hand quilting half of it and machine quilting the other half. This current sample is for Hobbs 80/20 black batt, which is nothing like their regular 80/20 in spite of what they say, and the hand quilting was started as something to be working on as I and a few members of my quilt guild demonstrated during a local historic home tour. I finished the hand quilting on my trip, so it's time to get the other half machine quilted. The picture shows the back side where before and after measurements will be notated to assess shrinkage due to both quilting and washing.

And finally, I feel compelled to put the Lonestar back on the list. I left it off for awhile, even though I still picked it up now and then, because setting it as a goal seemed to be having the opposite effect of motivating me to work on it. Why the contrariness I'm not sure, but once I quit putting it on the list, I started working on it more. I'm just over half done with the hand quilting and really wish it could be totally done before it has to be packed up for moving, but I just don't see that happening. Still, no point in not working on it at all, and the more I can get done now, the better.

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