Monday, January 29, 2007

Goals for Week of Jan 29th

I was a busy girl last week, as the lack of posts might indicate. Actually, I was not exactly rising and shining as I should have been, so while I managed to get in 17 studio hours and accomplished almost everything on my list of goals, I wasn't getting a lot else done. Oh, yeah, and let's not forget the time spent in front of the TV watching the US National Figure Skating Championships. They were being held about 2 hours from me so there was lots of extra local coverage and interesting behind-the-scenes articles in the paper. It's a wonder I got anything done!

Mainly, I processed fabric - all but two 4-yard pieces that will be used for backing. I prefer to wash and iron these large pieces right before using them so those will go back in storage as is. There were maybe 5 lengths around 2 yards; most everything else was fat quarters with plenty of those being pre-1900 reproduction fabrics. Gads, what am I going to do with all of them, many of which have lost their charm? I actually found myself wondering if I could improve upon them with dyeing or painting or stamping or discharge. It's a thought.

I'm guessing that most quilters have no idea just how much fabric they have on hand. I know I don't. As the pieces stacked up, I decided I should tally up how much I was processing...and I shocked myself with the figure - 36 yards. This represents a fraction of what I have on hand, so now I'm a little concerned. I suppose I should do an inventory to get a better handle on it in case the unthinkable happens and my stash become damaged or destroyed, because there's no way I'd think to tell an insurance adjustor that I had more than 50 yards of fabric. Now I'm wondering if I don't have well over 100 yards all told.

Not everyone prewashes fabric before putting it into a piece, but it is a habit I've gotten into for several reasons. I suppose first and foremost is because I originally made quilts that I expected would be washed. Pre-washing fabrics removes excess dyes, finishes and dirt from the manufacturing and shipping process. It also takes care of shrinkage which is not the same from fabric to fabric. But even when I moved to making quilts for the wall that might not ever be washed, I still felt it important to prewash my fabric. The quilt may not be immersed in water ever, but during the construction process, I will be exposing the fabrics to steam, misting and heat - all of which can make a fabric shrink or bleed onto another. I just found it easier to hedge my bets and take the time to wash everything before storing it away. Before it goes in the wash, I snip the selvages because they will shrink far more than the rest of the piece, making it almost impossible to press the fabric flat all the way to the edge. On a long piece of yardage, the selvage edge can shrink up as much as an inch more than the center and this will make cutting nice even strips very difficult.

Some selvages are much wider than others. You can see that is true of the fabric on the bottom and that I didn't clip far enough into it to fully release it. This picture also shows my habit of making notes in permanent pen along the selvage. I can notate price per yard, how long the piece is and even where I purchased it.

I decided I'm not going to bother tracking hours or days in the studio this week. I've got a lot of non-art stuff I need to attend to since I neglected it all last week. What gets done in the studio gets done and I don't want to pressure myself into meeting quotas. Still, when I sat down to list what I might do, the list looked pretty lengthy:
  1. Compose and print labels for pinwheel quilt and journal quilt
  2. Finish edges of journal quilt
  3. Layer and baste Grid 3 (only had time to mark quilting lines last week)
  4. Put away fabric processed last week (may require some rearranging of stash)
  5. Design open house invitation
This definitely feels like a catch-up week so that next week I can concentrate on the challenge quilt and details of the open house. I truly can't believe February is right around the corner.

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