Thursday, July 07, 2011

Personal Retreat

About this time each year, I spend a week on retreat, except I don't leave home to do it. Just ignore the phones and as much of regular life as possible, and focus on getting some serious sewing done. I'm having some trouble with the serious part this year. It's Thursday already and I'm just now starting work on the designated project for the 7 days. Day one was too nice to stay indoors, but instead of one of those restless handwork projects leaping off the shelf to accompany me, a book leaped off the shelf instead. Day two equally nice, but now I was ready for the handwork. I was surprised that this is what I had the urge to tackle. It's a what-was-I-thinking applique I designed for sashing and borders to go with some exchange blocks. Skinny stems, tight curves, dozens of leaf points to negotiate on a flimsy fabric prone to raveling. It may look like a lot of contrast between the two blues, but surprisingly the two blend quite well along the fold making it difficult to see where to place the needle. Working on this, I discovered, takes both excellent light and concentrated energy. I've not had that energy for over a year, so it was a bit delightful to discover it back. There are 4 of these short sashings, 2 longer ones and the 4 borders; in other words, many hours of porch time ahead. For an explanation of the method I'm using, see this post (which will also reveal how long I've been working on this project - really?).

At last, today I was mentally prepared to stay in the studio and tackle the intended project. It helped that it was too windy to sit and work outside, and that a noisy baler was working in the field next to the house. This is the big Lone Star/Celtic applique quilt intended as a wedding present for my nephew. The nephew who's been married for 11 years now. It is part machine quilted and part hand quilted, the last of that hand quilting finished early last year. I added more machine quilting to the star and was set to mark and machine quilt the border when my year turned upside down. Now I have just been dragging my feet, and it really must stop. The border quilting isn't the issue - I'm using a design from a magazine, easy to adapt to my space. It's the unwanted admission that I really need to add more hand quilting. Quilt the border and I can't avoid the issue of hours of more hand quilting needing to be done. I so wanted this quilt to be finished and away. However, ignoring the obvious and wishing it weren't so isn't going to change anything, nor get the quilt done. Attitude has thankfully adjusted, and I found myself no longer dreading but looking forward to choosing filling designs and watching them work their magic soon. See? Energy has returned.

I keep saying this, but really, I am out of practice in terms of how to work, find myself making mistakes, or missing the obvious that normally would come naturally. I made one of those mistakes while working out the border motif spacing which meant I spent a lot of time I needn't have spent. But regardless, the design has been successfully transferred to strips of quilting paper, first by folding the strips and tracing several repeats, then needle punching the design through all four strips. Tomorrow I can pin these strips to the borders and machine stitch along the perforations.

Thought you might like to see my moebius scarf which I finished over the weekend. This knit up so fast and I love the way the yarn striped. This one might be hard to give away.

1 comment:

Connie Rose said...

Your moebius scarf is wonderful. Looks like something even I could knit (at this point in the life of my hands)!