Thursday, August 31, 2006


This is probably my last "thoughty" post before the big move. I'd gotten a copy of "Fiberarts Design Book Five" - another "new" book for me with an old copyright date of 1995. I find it interesting and sometimes helpful to look at work other than quilt art and this has everything from surface design and wearables Check Spellingto tapestries and paper/felt. Quilts too of course, toward the back. And that is where, in the quilt section, I saw the first copyright symbol and date following a work's title.

So my immediate thought was, what makes the quilts so special that their makers feel compelled to indicate copyright privileges when the other fiberartists did not? When and why did we quilters get so obsessed with copyrighting our art? And has the rest of the fiberart world now followed suit?

Now yes, I do know the importance of copyright and of honoring it. It just seemed odd when I thought about it that I don't see paintings sporting copyright dates, or ceramics, baskets or weaving, even when they are very distinctive. Just a curious puzzle.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Shredding the Past

That's what it feels like I've been doing for the last few hours. Not to worry, just running old tax files, bills and such through the shredder. So much paper with social security numbers, account numbers and other info identity thieves no doubt could use that my little shredder overheated and stopped twice. Another bag holds the rest of the paper that didn't need shredding but definitely didn't need to come to Idaho with me. Old resumes, letters of recommendation, workshop certificates - all so old as to be immaterial if I were to consider employment again. Lots of other paper I no longer need and actually wonder why I kept at all.

I also broke down a bunch of boxes in the garage, unearthed a crate full of heavy duty extension cords, computer cords and phone cords I'd totally forgotten I had, and stuffed the packing paper from two moves ago into bags for recycling. I am such a packrat!

The process is both freeing and depressing. Freeing to shed (and shred) that very old part of my past that is meaningless anymore but weighing me down, depressing to see how tightly I've held on to so much useless stuff. Well, I'm trying to mend my ways and it shows by what is stacked to go out with the trash tomorrow.

On the other hand, yesterday was more about keeping and controlling. Oh, I AM getting serious about this move - the design wall flannels came down as well as my award ribbons. I packed up the extension table for my sewing machine and about all that's left in there is to box the sewing machine up and take down the journal quilts. This has been a very satisfying process going through my studio. I wonder how good a job I'll do (and how quickly) setting things up on the other end.

And the dog gets more and more nervous with each box I touch. She's been through several moves and definitely recognizes the signs!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Historical Perspective

I'm a bit of an historian, and enjoy it no end when I run across something that sounds like it could be from the present but was said or done some time in the past. Other times, something from the past may point out how little progress has been made or how little has changed. Or perhaps even how things have digressed.

As I've been trying to get through some recently purchased books before they get packed away, I ran across these comments in the Jurors' Statement from The New Quilt 2 - Dairy Barn: Quilt National 1993. I'll let you decided whether the quilt art world today is the same, better or worse than it was 13 years ago.

"An encouraging sign was the number of quilts that included non-fabric materials in their construction. Especially promising were several artists whose handling of diverse and often disparate materials with restraint represented a new level of maturity and sophistication."

That last bit about maturity and sophistication caught my eye because that is what I decided my work was lacking, and working toward a higher level of sophistication became my goal for the year. Jury still out on whether I've made much progress that direction. Anyway, it continues:

"The most successful quilts incorporating mixed media are those where the makers used materials in support of their ideas as opposed to exploiting the purely seductive qualities often inherent in unusual materials."

Bingo! Has there not been tons of discussion about this very topic lately on blogs and lists? More on that:

"In general we found that the materials selected by the quilters have become subtle, sophisticated and increasingly more personal. It was apparent that more and more quilters are creating their own patterned fabrics, thus allowing more control and expressiveness over their creations. This development, coupled with a trend to restrict the amount of artificial fabrics used in quilts, is one that we enthusiastically applaud."

As for their criteria for acceptance:

"We avoided including quilts that closely mimicked the ideas and techniques of well-known workshop presenters. We hope that quilters continue learning new approaches. But more important, we want to see quilters enlarge upon those new methods by taking risks with their newly acquired vision and create a highly personal format."

Or as we often term it - find our own voice. I'm still looking but several have told me they think they see one emerging.

It concludes with this thought:

"As we move into the final decade of the millennium, we believe that individual quilt makers will continue to express themselves in ways that are exciting and yet unimaginable today."

So have we? And as a whole, have quilters continued to cultivate subtlety and sophistication in their work? In my opinion, no. Which makes those few who have done stand out not so subtly from the current field of would-be quilt artists.

Lunch with the girls

Yesterday I had lunch with my three closest Eau Claire quilting buddies. Our little quartet has been getting together for birthday lunches, shop hops, trips to quilt shows and guild activities for nearly 5 years. This lunch served as both a birthday celebration for me and a farewell feast. And of course, it included a few little gifts, guiltily presented as they know I really don't need more things to pack.

But I had just the spot for them in the top of this bin. On the left is a "Quilt Therapy" panel which I was charged with coloring in with my paints. Next to that are some "brighter fabrics than you usually use - think of me when you challenge yourself to make something from them!" The four darker fabrics on the right are actually wool fat quarters. I guess my fingers straying over them at vendor booths and comments of "someday I'd like to try working with these" stuck in this friend's mind. No excuses now! On the lower left are the brand new Gee's Bend US postal stamps - an admonition to stay in touch even if it's awhile before my e-mail is back up and running. Stellar idea and gift. And the last bit of fabric is the official Wisconsin State Flower fabric - violets to remember my years here.

Thanks guys. I will miss our get togethers and travels, sharing of projects and ideas. How nice it will be to open this bin in Idaho and be reminded of our friendship and that we really must stay in touch.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Rediscovered Quotation

I really am getting into corners untouched for a very long time. I ran across an index card on which I had typed (yes, typed on a typewriter, so that's how old it is) this quotation which I think can be applied to the creative journey:

Do a little more of that work which you had sometime confessed to be good, which you feel that society and your justest judge rightly demands of you. Do what you reprove yourself for not doing. Know that you are neither satisfied or dissatisfied with yourself without reason. Let me say to you and to myself in one breath, Cultivate the tree which you have found to bear fruit in your soul.
Thoreau "On Man and Nature"

Purging continues...

...And the doubleknits, polyester blends, trigger and kettle cloth have been deep-sixed. On the left is a box and a bag full of them ready to go to Bethesda Thrift Shop, while on the right is the fourth box of clothes and miscellaneous household goods ready for Goodwill. It also holds some good intentions that I'm finally facing up to - needlepoint canvas, outdated dress patterns, pre-acid free scrapbooks and photo albums I've not touched in years and will never touch.

In exchange, I freed up one long storage unit which I can now fill with the cottons I use but had run out of room for. And made room in a footlocker, already harboring some wonderful Pendleton wools, for more wools that were a gift (I'm really going to make some slacks...really!). Fabric for possible dress & jacket projects that had been stacked on a closet shelf fit nicely in the top. A few other things were slipped in here and there. For the most part, it made sense what was going in there. But there's still a bit of room and I've reached the packing stage where organization goes out the window. Ah, well.

There's still quite a bit of stuff to take down in the studio. As bit by bit gets put away and walls become bare, I've realized several things. One is that the longer something is in our daily sight, the less we see it. It's probably a good thing to review these, ponder why they were up in the first place, see them fresh on the other end. Another is there are still things that feel like weights but I still can't part with them. And then there's the lightness created by the bare walls themselves - nothing vying for attention, demanding to be worked on, administering guilt for being neglected. Oh, and I keep unearthing things I'd forgotten I had or at least never expected to find where I did. I hope I can be better organized when I set up again. Keep repeating my mantra...Fresh start, Fresh start.

And in the midst of all this, I find myself motivated to get that hand-quilting done on the Lone Star. I finished up the last big square and am not quite half done with the last triangle. I will be so pleased if all the marked quilting is done before it has to be removed from the frame and packed up.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sorting, tossing, giving away

Shoot, it's Wednesday already and I meant to post earlier about my progress last week. I did find some time to hand quilt but have just a bit more to do before the last square is done and I can move on to the last triangle. How much will get done this week is a question, plus I'm nearly out of thread and waiting for another spool to arrive in the mail.

So I thought I'd get a lot taken care of in the studio, but it must have been too much for me to face. Instead, I found myself working on the garage, then the storage closet downstairs towards the end of the week. Much easier to decide what to do with old caulk and paint thinner and stuff for car maintenance that I'll never use. Thanks to Freecycle, a friend with a big truck and my neighbor, lots got taken away to new homes where it will actually see some use.

I've always been a bit of a packrat, too sentimental by half and a bit lazy, so to find so much stuff to get rid of is no surprise. The surprise came when I ran across some things I truly thought I'd ditched in the last move! Well, hold that thought, I told myself, and out the door they went. What will continue to travel with me are a box full of journals, a scrapbook from my college days and memorabilia from my late husband - letters he wrote hoping to get published, special cards and notes to me, pictures, the good memories of a 25 year marriage.

The weekend saw me doing some things for the last time - the 3rd Saturday of the month meet at Borders with my best friend and quilting buddy, a drive out to a little quilt show given by the first guild I belonged to to say goodbye to those I've stayed in touch with. Monday and Tuesday held dinner parties - the couple who got us out to Wisconsin in the first place and became our good friends, and a gathering of couples from my church. Sweet goodbyes all and wonderful to see them so happy for me.

I had hoped that my downstairs sorting success and feeling of release would spur me onto similar success upstairs and in the studio, but it is hard to jettison things from there. I sidetracked a bit to shred files, but eventually tackled the chaos, as I've been calling it.
Margaret commenting on my post of a few days ago said... Surely corralling chaos is an artistic goal -- "it all feeds into the same place" and if you're being distracted by chaos, that saps your creative energy. Oh so right. Plus so much time is lost just trying to find this and that. So although I may not be pitching much (although some kettle cloth and some orange loosely woven fabric from the '70's made it into the Goodwill bag), at least I'm organizing. All the vest and purse ideas/fabric/notions are together in one bin, my most recent art quilt ideas/efforts/in progress pieces in another, the leftover mostly traditional UFO's that I still want to finish in a third. Next I need to pull out the footlocker still harboring the last fabrics I bought for making shirts and blouses. I know there will be lots to go there which will make room for a stack of fabric that's been on a shelf to keep most of the folds out of it. Already I feel less tension when I enter the room.

And so it goes. Tick, tick, tick off the lists, although it doesn't seem like enough is coming off. Tomorrow afternoon it's the final haircut (can't tell you how much I wish I could take my beautician with me!), then the final servicing of the car to ready it for the long drive. I should feel a little lighter every day, and do, but then I see the time left and it all compresses into weight again. Frankly, I can't even look at the calendar right now. Just keep reminding myself that what doesn't get done can most likely be taken care of on the other end.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I thought it was mid-August

When I went out on my morning walk yesterday, the last thing I expected to see were leaves turned red and orange. Yet here they were - a few branches of the sumacs sporting these colors. Granted, the nights have been cooler and even the daytime breezes have had a hint of fall in them, but my understanding is that decreasing daylight rather than decreasing temps is what triggers the trees to start the process of shedding their leaves. That and drought - well, they do say we've been a bit dry this summer, but we've had good rains of late greening everything up.

The orange ones were a surprise; I didn't think sumacs turned anything but a rich dark red. The red ones were less detailed but the orange ones had so much going on in them. I took them with me when I met a friend for coffee later in the day. She beamed and said, "There! Inspiration!"

Monday, August 14, 2006

What's up this week

Moving priorities kicked into high gear today. I was right not to set any art goals last week, except for finishing the pillow on Monday and then the ever on-going hand quilting. I didn't get as far as I thought I would on that last one, but I did get about half the block done, so will try to settle to it a few evenings this week. No other goals need apply.

I've been getting rid of a few things I can't sell and refuse to move through freecycle and it is an amazing experience. When you give to charity, you really don't know if your stuff goes anywhere but into another bin, but through e-mail, I know who is picking up my stuff and often why. Like today, it was a young man taking away my snow tires for the Saab I no longer have. Take the rims too please. He did, and in the process pointed to the older woman in his van (his mother?) saying the tires were to replace the totally bald ones on her car and he thought he could put the rims to use on his trailer. Nice. Other items get set out at the door so the recipient can pick them up at their convenience, and it is magical the way they disappear. Anyway, because of some pick-ups today, I ended up spending time cleaning and tossing in the garage - much easier than in my studio! Perhaps the exhilaration of that experience will carry me to similar success as I move back inside the house.

I also checked my lists and tended to a few more phone calls, typed a letter to the landlord and boxed up a couple things to ship to relatives. Every little bit helps.

Perhaps I can fudge and say an artistic goal of the week is to corral some of the chaos in the studio. In my usual fashion, I don't just want to dump things into any old bin, but want to have a logical reason for certain items and projects to end up together. Just putting thought into it is allowing me to think about those projects, how they will progress, when I might work on them again, what special items need to be stored with them. Someone suggested that if I get flashes of inspiration while packing things away, I should have a notebook ready to record them. I thought that was a great idea and think my small sketchbook might be the perfect place to do that. I plan to leave it out to take in the car with me, so I won't have to hunt for it on the other end.

So today was a very high energy and "up" day on the moving front. I know not all days will feel this good, so I am enjoying it while I can.

A Progression of Frames

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned the trouble I was having picking out new eyeglass frames on the day I was having an equally difficult time arranging squares on another in my Grid series (see here). I ended up taking the advice of my friend and checking another store's selection a few days later. Everything about that experience was better, and after a quick trip back to the original store to retry the held glasses, there was no doubt I wanted the frames I found at the second place. I picked them up on Friday and I love them! Just like in quilting, preconceived notions, holding on to a plan for all the wrong reasons and limiting options often lead to mundane outcomes, but opening oneself up to more possibilities can result in very happy endings.

I always keep my previous glasses for emergency back-up, so was searching through the drawer for that pair, only to discover I had three old pairs. Here they are, the oldest (and biggest) at the bottom, progressing upward (and ever smaller) to my brand new ones at the top. The frames are a variety of colors - red at the bottom (I also had the same frames in blue but the dog head-butted me and broke them), light brown, black, plum and now "mahogany" which really looks like chocolate brown to me.

And I gotta tell ya, those big red ones were really scary when I tried them on today...

Saturday, August 12, 2006

A quilt top for sale

One of the things that moving does for you (or at least for me) is give you motivation to act on things you've been putting off. Like selling this quilt top.

This top is my sample from teaching a block of the month class using Pam Bono's pattern "Out of Darkness / A New Beginning". It will finish to queen size. Go here for a description and picture of the pattern on Pam's website:

I made the version with black background and for the most part stayed with the suggested color scheme. The piecing is not 100% perfect but darn close.

If you are interested in purchasing the top or need more detailed pictures, please leave a comment with your e-mail address and I will contact you directly. I moderate all my comments, so I will not post inquiries about this top to the blog.

This top still needs the last narrow border added, but otherwise is ready for quilting. I'll include enough black fabric for the last border (along with hand written instructions) and binding.

There's at least $75 worth of fabric in it so that's what I'm asking plus shipping. Payment can be made through PayPal.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Time for Lists

And unfortunately, not quilt or art lists. I think the creative goals for the week will have to be put on hold as I begin to address the many details involved in orchestrating a move. I've made the first phone calls (to my current landlord and to the moving company) and then realized what a mess my place is in. I get the estimate from the movers tomorrow and the landlord may start showing my place soon, so today I spent some time straightening up "non-public" areas that will soon be open to all. In the process, I discovered some forgotten treasure and smiled at the thought of discovery at the other end. I've been here 6 years, and a move always helps one weed things out and bring to light all those things you meant to do. So instead of dreading the unpacking on the other end, today I found myself looking forward to it, imagining my creative impulses being led not by my own devises, but by whatever pops out of a box first. Exciting!

But back to the lists. I've talked before about how valuable they are to me, helping me to focus and keeping me on track, not to mention giving me a visual affirmation of progress as items get crossed off. I think I need to make three separate lists: calls that need to be made, research that needs to be done, and things that need to be taken care of. I envision pages and pages of this and although I know that once I get it down on paper, a lot of my anxiety will go away, I can't settle myself down to do it. A part of me is in denial, I guess, and I'd rather be sewing.

So sew I did. I did everything on my list of goals last week, and since the mariner's compass block was to be made into a pillow top, I decided to do that yesterday - with the idea I'd take it as my final show and tell at my guild later that night. Pretty simple procedure, but I was so distracted that I wasted a bit of time before the work calmed and settled me. I didn't quite get all the hand stitching done before the meeting, but took it anyway, then finished it up this morning. Here it is:

I normally round the corners of my pillow tops, and instead of doing piping, I run binding around the edge. But I committed one of my more common faux pas - picked out the fabric for the binding without considering whether I actually had enough of it left. To go around a round corner, the binding must be cut on the bias, and I was lucky to get enough straight strips out of my little piece of rust fabric. So square corners it is.

Actually, I think I could put one quilting goal on the list for the week. I discovered I was farther along on the quilting of the Lone Star than I thought, and if I quilt some each night, I think I can get the marked part of the hand quilting done before I move. That would be so great if I could. So I'm going to try to complete the quilting on the last square this week which will only leave the last triangle - quiltable in a week or so.

By the way, the response to my news of yesterday from those of you who read my blog really tickled me. I hadn't looked at those pictures for a few weeks, and frankly, I was awed by what I was seeing. A part of me still can't believe my luck at finding a place in such a beautiful setting. I guess I'll have no more excuses for whining and not doing the work!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

It's Official!

We are doing a very happy dance here, and it has nothing to do with quilts. The call I've been waiting for for nearly three weeks, the one that would determine whether or not I'd get the perfect (well, nearly perfect) rental in Sandpoint finally came yesterday, and the outcome was positive. The three "P's" - patience, persistence and yes, a lot of prayer - have won out. I have a place to live and I'm movin' to Idaho!

Now I can confess that the pictures taken from the bike trail were views surrounding my new abode (see this post). The picture above is looking from the bike trail towards the property I'll be living on. Click on the picture for a larger view. The house is nestled in those tall trees to the right and the lake is beyond that. The picture below is a stitched version of a panned view looking the opposite direction, or what I would see from the driveway. As you can see, I won't exactly have any close neighbors, although Sandpoint is only one mile to the east and the tiny town (under 400) of Dover is a mile in the opposite direction. If I can't create art here, then I'm in big trouble!

The rental is on "shared" property, so the outbuildings in the picture below and the house further down the driveway belong to my landlord, who does not live there full time. Jesse and I will have new purpose to our daily walks as our rental has been termed "the caretaker house" (hidden in the trees on the left) and we are to keep an eye on the place. Not unlike what we already do in our neighborhood, but now it will be with some authority.

I anticipate being freed up a bit because I will no longer have to watch Jesse's every move when I let her out like I do now with no fenced yard. Here is where she will be spending her "free time" when she wants to be outside and I don't. The back yard is fairly large, completely fenced and has a view of the road and bike trail to entertain her.

The house has just enough quirkiness to it to be appealing, and has three large bedrooms, one of which has terrific light and no doubt will become my studio. I'll have yardwork to do, which I haven't had to deal with for years, but I'm willing to make the tradeoff for such a beautiful setting. The current renters tell me there's a lilac bush, a few roses, day lilies, peonies, daffodils...All the flowering things that I love, so it should be a pleasure to tend them. At least, that's the thinking right now!

Here are a couple more views I can't resist sharing. This is from the bike trail again, shot toward the driveway looking west. Yes, that's a 2-lane highway I'm sitting next to and it does have quite a bit of traffic but again, I'm hoping that all the positives of this place will overshadow the few negatives, and the current renters shrugged it off saying, "Oh, you get used to it and you don't really hear it in the back of the house where the bedrooms are." Hope they're right.

And here is a shot looking down the driveway out to the highway.

And finally, a similar angle, but taken last fall - a taste of what I have to look forward to in a few months.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Familiar Tune

From my journal:

"The last couple days have been a struggle. For some reason I'm trying to find reasons to avoid starting this project. Maybe there are too many unknowns and I'm letting the impending decision-making process intimidate me. I catch myself back in the immobilizing thought process of fearing to "ruin" by trying some new stuff.

...(Now) I'm a little more able to address the choices & experiments. So while this is not moving at rapid speed with little hesitation in decision making,...I am moving forward at last. The backsliding into old habits, insecurities and avoidance behavior may be more due to outside factors also requiring a lot of decision making coupled with having more than one or two new things to try in the actual piece."

This sounds like it could have been written this week, or maybe a few months ago. But it is from longer ago than that. Last fall when I was struggling so to find my way, to motivate myself to work, to make up my mind where and when to move? No, it is actually from November of 2003, half-way through my year of doing monthly journal quilts. Now that's a bit of a wake-up call, and that is why I journal. I have a tendency to forget just how long I've complained about this or that without taking action for change.
On the other hand, had I continued with my monthly journal quilts, spent more time on my art quilting journey instead of the traditional teaching I was doing at the time, perhaps I'd not be intimidated and immobilized by non-traditional work at this point.

To be fair, I have made progress, I do have areas I feel more confident in. I'm less fearful of experimentation and more willing to "sacrifice" good fabric in the learning process. And just have to do more work more consistently, just like I did when I was learning the basics of traditional quilting. Practice makes perfect, or at least gets you comfortable with the process. Or as Michael James always says, "Just do the work!"

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

One thing leads to another and another

I've been studying that piece of fabric that I folded and painted. I see many faces, things that look like masks to me, and I am developing an idea of how to use that fabric to enhance them. Purely by accident, by virtue of the fact that it was on the same design wall as Grid 2, I noticed that the colors in the second batik might work with it. I placed a few squares here and there, and it is giving me more ideas of where to go with this. I doubt I would have made the connection independently that this batik would work with this piece of fabric.

Then I removed the stabilizer from the back of Grid 2. And because I am just that way, I was being very careful and meticulous about it. When done, I had this thing that look like window panes. Now, I save scraps of stabilizer like I save scraps of fabric - sometimes all you need is a little piece, especially if whipping up a sample. So I was about to fold this up and put it away when the thought occurred to me, gee, I wonder if I could paint it and apply it on top of fabric? Would it work at all like the tissue paper sun printing or could I affix it with textile medium? Yikes! You art quilters have definitely influenced me - warping my little traditional brain beyond my recognition sometimes!

Either of these could be considered happy accidents leading to design resolutions. I recently read that the trick to becoming a good artist is to learn from these accidents so that you can repeat them at will, not have to rely on accidents to create good work. I know I stumble upon good color combinations more often than I can consciously put them together. I also know that the more experience I get putting together colors, the better I will get at it and the less I'll have to depend on chance juxtapositions. Still, I think those chance pairings will always happen and are what make working with fabric so exciting.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Progress on Grid #2

It was very tempting to ignore Grid 2 today and head for the safety of that Mariner's Compass block. Decided I would only continue to stew needlessly and feel defeated if I did not charge right back in, make final decisions and stitch down those squares. Keep reminding oneself - it's only a practice piece, it's only a practice piece, series are about learning, honing, perfecting not with one quilt but with many. I don't heed this thought well, but today I try.

I moved a few squares and changed out a few only to go back to where I had left it yesterday. Really, good enough and the changes were not improvements. Move on to thread choice.

Right up there with wishing I could visualize better is wishing I could trust myself more. Here are the samples of various thread colors I tried, five in all, only to come back to my original thinking of using the brown thread. Also in the picture, you can see the "hairy" decorative thread I think I want to couch over the squares. As long as I think that is what I'll use, the more the brown thread for the satin stitching makes sense. At any rate, once I'd made the decision, the rest was enjoyable. I love feeling competent, and there is so much of the design decision-making in art quilt that I don't feel competent at yet. That is why yesterday was not fun. But now with those decisions out of the way, I could do what I do best - the technical side. Square up the background, measure and draw out the placement grid. Pin on the squares, back with a tearaway stabilizer and satin stitch away.

I was so please that the brown satin stitching worked the way I hoped it would, the squares no longer blending into the background, but standing out pretty well.

Maybe I'll feel the same about those glasses frames when I see them again...

Grid #2

Yesterday was perhaps not the best day to go shopping for new glasses frames...

I spent an inordinate amount of time cutting and arranging and rearranging squares on my odd re-worked sunprint yesterday morning. I'm so tired of thinking and saying this, but I really wish I could envision better how fabrics will actually work together. I seem to have fallen into my usual trap of too much blending. What I thought would pop off the background really doesn't.

Here's one fabric option that, in spite of it looking pretty good on the screen, just wasn't working. I did rather like it turned "on point," especially with the couched thread running through the points, so will store that idea for another time.

Here's the second fabric option which picks up better on the colors in the background fabric. In the picture, the blue pops a bit more than in real life, but the pink looks pretty true. This is such a funny batik - one I've found very difficult to work with. When I cut pieces out of it, the colors look bright and clear, but when placed with other fabrics, they go muddy and toned. Regardless, this is what I decided to use and spent so much time arranging and trading out different squares.

The satin stitching around each square will be done in dark thread and help delineate it, but will it be enough to make this interesting? Also perhaps blending in a bit too much is the decorative thread I wanted to couch across the squares. I may need to use something from my collection of navies.

This little exercise did not leave me with the same excitement and urge to keep working that I felt on Saturday. It just made me tired and a bit discouraged, continuing in one of my several ruts. I decided that part of the problem is my need for measurable progress, progress that seems proper for time spent. Is that because everything I did last week could be measured that way? Or is it because spending so much time with so little to show for it feels like a luxury I can't afford right now, what with all I should be doing towards the move? I guess I envisioned working quickly and intuitively today, perhaps even getting some of the stitching done. I finally left the studio not even sure I'm going to stick with the final arrangement of the squares. Well, this project definitely needs to sit overnight and be reassessed with a fresh eye.

And then I went to try on glasses... After an hour and a half, including a break to walk around the rest of the store per the patient salesperson's suggestion, I'd narrowed it down to a pair I still wasn't sure about. Part of the problem is that I can't see well enough without my glasses to really tell how they look, and the friend I'd brought along to help was hedging. And I'm purposely trying for a change, something very different from my current look, so of course, I can't tell if I'm hesitating just because they DO look so different or because I don't really like how they look. They're expensive, too, wouldn't ya know, so I ended up doing the same thing as I did with my grid design - asked the girl to hold them for me, and went home to sleep on it. I'll probably check another store with a bigger selection too, more time "rearranging and trading out" as it were to be sure I've considered all my options and have truly chosen the best one. Sometimes I feel hopeless!