Thursday, May 27, 2010

Getting Ready for Q/SDS

I am in the middle of packing up books and fiber/mixed media art supplies to take out to Columbus, Ohio for the Quilt/Surface Design Symposium.  This will be the 5th year that I've been a vendor at that conference.  I decided it was time to take a break from the chaos and post an update.  It's such a lot of work to get ready.  You can see the mess I'm dealing with...
...boxes everywhere.  I shipped a couple of boxes of light things, but everything else has to fit into my car.  (It's amazing what you can get into a small, hatchback.)  Today is my day to make all the final decisions about what to take and get the boxes packed.  Tomorrow it all goes into my car.  I head out first thing Sunday morning and will drive all day to get to Columbus.  Monday is rest and set up and Tuesday the conference begins.  If you're in the area, I hope you'll stop by.  

The conference is in a new location this year--at the Ramada Plaza Hotel on Sinclair Road.  I'll have to learn a new area of Columbus this year.

I've been very busy since my last post, not just getting ready for Q/SDS.  One of the most exciting things that happened was The Practical, The Impractical, and The Artrageous Fashion Show during the SOWA Art Walk weekend in Boston.  Sonja and I took a bunch of pictures and hope to add a slide show to our web site one day soon.  In the meanwhile, here's just one picture to give you a sample.  You might recognize the jacket from a previous post.
It was SO exciting to see my jackets in such a professional show.

Well I just looked at the clock and realized I'd better get back to packing.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Labor of Love

Here's my most recently completed jacket - a combination of Judy Robertson's hand-dyed cotton sateen, a pale green remnant with corded and textured stripes, and couched threads--rayon and cotton gimp and a sparkly metallic.  It's a size small because I didn't have enough of the corded stripe to make anything bigger and I just loved the combination of these two fabrics.

I called this one Tranquility because of the soft colors.  As I was sitting here the other day hand stitching the binding and listening to some of my favorite music on my i-pod, I realized that the name was  apropos for other reasons than the colors.  It was such a lovely, relaxing way to spend an afternoon that working on it certainly enhanced my tranquil feelings. 

Oh I know that many people recoil in horror at the thought of hand stitching, but it's one of my favorite activities.  Unless I run into an unruly thread or other problems I find stitching quite soothing.  I almost always have a stitching project ongoing and I almost never watch television empty handed.  As I get ready to go to QSDS, one of the things I have been thinking about is what stitching project I will bring along to fill the quiet times.

I am on a roll with couching lately.  My daughter, Sonja, definitely has my number on this one.  For Mother's Day she bought me two skeins of gorgeous Italian "yarns" in my favorite cool colors.  They have a wonderful sheen and great texture.  I've been looking at them now for a week and mulling over what fabric to put them with and what styling would best show them off.  One idea is putting it with a soft raw silk/linen fabric that has a subtle woven stripe and the other idea is using it with a shiny pale green silk.  In the first combination the yarn would primarily add textural depth, while in the second it would add both line and texture.  The first would have a softer more casual look, while the second would be more dressy.

I'm leaning toward starting with the second combination, but the silk hasn't been prewashed yet.  I'll either have to wait until tomorrow to get started or begin with the raw silk/linen.  I always prewash my fabrics in the washing machine in cool water and a delicate cycle.  Then I dry them in the dryer, again on a delicate cycle.  Since most of my fabrics are remnants, I often don't know for sure what the fiber content is and I never have care instructions for them.  By prewashing them I can make sure that my jackets will stand up to a careful wash when they go home with someone.  Legally I have to provide care instructions for my jackets, so I need to figure out what I can recommend.  If I can't wash the fabric, I don't want to use it.

With some of the fabrics, that first wash is a bit nerve-wracking, but so far I haven't had any disasters.  Overall, I have been quite surprised  at what I can wash without problems and often I am happier with the hand of the fabric after washing than before.  I'll be anxious to see how this silk washes.  It has been laminated to a lightweight knit to give it body, so I'm curious whether it will stand up to a wash.  Better to find out now if it won't.  I'll let you know my results.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Catching Up, Getting Ready

I realized today that I haven't posted since I returned from my trip to Wisconsin.  Last week was a transition week - catching up on a variety of things after the weekend away, and starting to get ready for my trip to the Quilt/Surface Design Symposium.  It's hard to imagine that in three weeks I'll be in Columbus again.  There are so many things to do to get ready.

Last time that I posted, I had just finished a wall quilt that I was going to give my mother-in-law for her birthday.  Well here she is, just after she opened it.  I am happy to report that she was very pleased with it and has picked out a nice spot for it in her living room.  

I was pretty sure that she'd be happy with it because it includes lots of phrases from an e-mail that she'd sent me about her mother.  Still I was a bit nervous because I'd cut up the quilt I'd made from a top that her mother had made.  I know that many people would consider that sacrilegious, but she found it as meaningful as I did.  Phew!!!!

I thought I should share this picture of the birthday girl.  Don't you hope you look that great when you get to be 90.  I think that's something we all wish for.  We all enjoyed the party.  It was very nice to connect with so many people that  you haven't seen in many years - and at a happy occasion.

So as I mentioned, my next big trip is to Columbus, Ohio for Q/SDS, where I will be vending.  I just realized that this will be the fifth year that I've done this.  Oh my.  I hope that if you're in the area, you'll come by and say hi.

Since returning from Wisconsin, I've been reviewing my inventory stocks and deciding what I should bring, ordering things to fill in, making lists of things I must do before going (like remembering to pay last month's sales tax), and working on a jacket.  I have another one almost finished.  I decided that I should make at least one more featuring Judy Robertson's beautiful fabric since she will have so many fans there.  And of course, I also hope that it will help her business too.  I'll show you that one in my next post.