Monday, October 31, 2022

Wrapping up #INKtober

This is it, the last day of #INKtober 2022 and my drawing for it! Assessing my experience with daily drawing using #INKtober prompts, I noticed several things that I think led to my success. First, my decision to do my best to keep it simple and quick. Nothing like knowing a drawing will soak up an hour or more to make one procrastinate but a ten to fifteen minute block of time was easy to fit in, even on the busiest days. I also found myself remembering and practicing the fact that one does not have to draw every line, that often something can be hinted at with just a few strokes. No need to get complicated though I tend to get caught up in details. 

But in sketches like this, details can sometimes muddy the picture and even obliterate what one is trying to capture. But truth be told, this last week started to feel more like a chore than fun, probably because of distractions that arose as life intervened. 

Still, when I ran across the quotation below a few days ago, I thought, yeah, there were days that felt like that, both in the drawing and in the living.

"We make our way through Everything like thread passing through fabric, giving shape to images that we ourselves do not know."

– Rainer Maria Rilke –

 More quilting on the Peace quilt ensued, three actually to my surprise. It is making a difference. I don't think I'll keep up with the sketch a day but exchange it for some time at the sewing machine each day. The usual once or twice a week I sit at the machine isn't nearly enough. I'm reviewing my work at the end of each session with criticism and a tad of disappointment that I haven't sewn those lines straight enough, being sloppy. I'm maybe a bit in the "energy gap" that Ira Glass speaks of when talking about how hard it is for creatives to get started. Austin Kleon illustrated it this way:,c_limit,f_webp,q_auto:good,fl_progressive:steep/ 

I know based on past work that I am good, but right now as I get back into it after a long time off, I think I'm not good enough. I hate it when I catch myself thinking, "Good thing I'm making this just for me." While I don't expect perfection, I do have my standards and at least on this quilt, I'm not living up to them. Next time . . .

Monday, October 24, 2022

Some Hits, Some Misses


I stand corrected. I said I hadn't done any quilting in the week leading up to my last post. Before I sat down to start the parallel quilting in the "border" area of Peace Quilt II, I checked my engagement calendar where I make note of work on quilting projects and found that I did indeed do a little quilting that week, finishing the stitching along the satin stitching of the applique. Why I didn't remember doing it in that week I can't imagine. I'm using the same thread on the sateen print as I did on the lighter hand-dye of the first Peace Quilt but because I am using an 80/20 cotton batting rather than felt, the quilting has more dimension. This is one of the "misses" of the week only because the quilting lines are a bit wavy here and there and in a couple of spots I didn't turn the quilting very well. But at a distance, that doesn't much show. At least it's going quickly. I find I don't have a very long attention span anymore and think the hour I am limiting myself to must be up only to find I'm not even half there.

My 3-month post op appt though was a hit. Gauging by how I got up from a chair and walked down a hall, the x-ray tech thought I must be there for a 6 month post op appt until she looked at my chart. Both she and the PA said I was progressing better than a lot of patients and now have no restrictions on bending and twisting, as long as doing so doesn't cause additional pain. Make no mistake, I am not pain-free yet but much better than before the surgery, and I was reminded that full recovery takes a year. Had to laugh when the above Garfield cartoon showed up in my paper a few days later. Ah yes, this has been my thing since surgery, merely waving at my toes, but at least now I can start working on waving at them from less far away.

As for my #INKtober drawings, some had to be done quickly because the first part of the week was busy with appts and errands while others I had more time to research and work on. But even so, most are not too bad. "Bluff" and "Bad Dog" are based on memories: motorcycle rides that ended at bluffs along the upper Mississippi River, and the pup who constantly escaped from her wire kennel and once neatly chewed the toe off a relatively new pair of snow boots. And I was relieved to find a definition of "Booger" that did not require me to draw someone picking their nose!

Monday, October 17, 2022

Just #Inktober Sketches

The week got away from me and I found no time to sew. I considered the next Zentangle in the current series and hedged on whether I wanted to mess with it so didn't. But I kept up my daily #INKtober sketching and feel myself getting more comfortable with the pen. Bear in mind, I do pencil sketches first before inking over them, which allows me lots of revisions if necessary. And I usually google images to work from - I have the hardest time drawing from memory. I still enjoy working from the official prompts, most of which provide a challenge. And I'm not missing adding color much. It's been good to keep things simple. Keeps me from getting crabby like the sketch above!

Monday, October 10, 2022

More Zentangles, More #Inktobers, and Some Quilting

Let's get to the quilting first. I'm slowly making my way around the satin stitched applique edges. Not much to see, it's a lot like stitching in the ditch. Holding the layers in place and starting to add some dimension.

And this is one of many reasons I dislike working with Misty Fuse. I don't care what they say about "fusing" it down, that if it loosens just iron it again, longer and maybe with more heat. I've had this "bubbling" happen to me on more than one project and it doesn't seem to matter how many times I hit this section with an iron, the Misty Fuse underneath still refuses to melt the two layers together. Am hoping the quilting will make this "disappear".

On to happier things. I can't express just how much I have enjoyed the steady drawing I've been doing. The Zentangles are meditative and relaxing, the daily #Inktober prompts quick and just the right amount of challenge to keep it interesting but not overwhelming. The Zentangle above starts with the star shape and then the Zentangle people flip their translucent tile and start working from the back. That I cannot do so where they were filling in dots with white gel pen all over the star, I simply drew small circles in a pattern pleasing to me. I enjoyed the addition of the "pods" around the outside of the star (pod is not the tangle's name but that's what the demonstrator kept calling it) but I skipped their final step of blacking out the rest of the space beyond those shapes.

I have to admit I found this next one way too fun. It turns out that the idea to start using the translucent tiles came from an old illustrated book that the Zentangle people own. In one part the illustration is done on parchment paper which is translucent, with part done on the flip side so that the thing being illustrated looks like it threads through a slit in the paper. Thus the idea for drawing Mooka tangles on a strip that would look like a ribbon threaded through the tile. Well, again, I'm working on regular paper but it occurred to me that I had some grey brush pens I could use to get the same effect they were getting by drawing on the flip side of the translucent tile. Because of all the background to be filled in with black, I switched to a Pitt brush pen which handled much better than the last time I tried it. They added just a hint of color with the pastel chalk pencil so I tried applying a little Art Graf with my finger and it worked fine.

And now a week's worth of #INKtober2022 drawings - enjoy!

Monday, October 03, 2022

Zentangles, Inktober and a Blank Journal

Definitely a productive week for a change. Something about following this current Zentangle series seems to have sparked a motivation to get back to drawing and being a little creative in general. This one is based on the Tripoli tangle and I must say, I deviated quite a bit in the use of materials. I think my triangles were quite a bit smaller than the ones on the example and my metallic gel pen did not leave as thick of a line as the Zentangle people got on their translucent smooth tiles. 

This made the step of outlining each stroke on both sides with an 01 Micron Pen a challenge, not made any easier by a shaky hand, eyes that didn't want to focus and the texture of the paper that made it even more difficult to make straight lines. By the time they got to the part about adding the pastel chalk inside the triangles, I was ready to go off on my own, especially since I didn't have the colors of Art Graf I wanted to fill the tiny triangles with. I continued to use the metallic gel pens to fill them in and the spaces in the flourishes - I forget what that tangle is called.

Here's another video to show the sparkling gel pens. In case you didn't know, you can click on the icon in the lower right to switch to a larger version easier to see. I noted this time around that some of the metallic sparkle escapes the ink and ends up on the page, much like glitter seems to get everywhere.

I thought I was done but at the end of their video, they flipped their translucent tile over and added the Paradox tangle inside each triangle, visible faintly from the front, especially if the tile is help up to the light. I already was thinking about adding a row of triangles along the bottom of the page and filling them with a different combination of metallic pen colors and if I made those triangles bigger, I could fit that Paradox tangle in them, unlike the small triangles above. I rather liked this.

And then the weekend came and it was October, time for #INKtober sketching if I wanted to give that a go. Last year I only made it a week before I lost interest and really wanted to spend my time elsewhere. This year I'd seen a preview of the official prompts and thought, yeah - I think I can work with these this time. So here are my first two, drawn with a pen that is new to me and primarily used for Manga Graphic Novels use, i.e. it makes some very thick lines if you are not careful. It is taking some getting used to. I'm not doing this drawing out of my head but referencing photos to guide what my mind envisions but my hand often fails to interpret without some help.

Finally, here's a very old unfinished project to add to my "finish more!" resolution for the year. When I lived by the lake over ten years ago, I was visited by a moose who eventually crossed the road and ambled down the bike trail, giving me ample time to take lots of photographs, some of which got printed onto fabric for padfolios. While experimenting with placements, I had several "rejects" that didn't work on padfolios, but never one to throw anything away, I could see that they might work for blank journal covers and one actually did.

This one which was sized a little big got as far as being fused to felt and WonderUnder fused to the lining before the two pieces were pinned to my design wall. You know, out of sight out of mind, and I figured this would be quick to finish up if I just kept it in sight. Well, not so. I added a little quilting to outline the moose earlier this year before it went back up on the design wall. I just wasn't up to adding as much stitching on it as I did the first one.

But now I wanted to finish it up as a thank you gift for one of the gals who helped me so much after my surgery and who I'd discovered liked to occasionally journal. And I wanted to see how things would go sitting at the machine as this one would require a satin stitch finish around the outside. I just had to trim the cover and the lining and fused them together before doing that satin stitching. Turns out sitting at the machine is not a problem. The signatures are sewn in with perle cotton and the closure is a button from my garndmother's/mother's button collections and an elastic loop.

And so I got the Peace quilt backing pinned to the front over the batting and set my machine up for quilting it with a walking foot. Lots of easy straight line stitching ahead whenever I feel like a sit-down.