I felt like a kid with a coloring book adding the Tsukineko inks to my illuminated letter for the BirdZeed “Typography” challenge for November. I am definitely going to have to find more ways to use the inks! The only bummer was realizing that I missed one of the flowers after I had rinsed the inks off the tray. Do you see the one I missed? Oops.
It’s Black Friday. I am not shopping. I don’t like shopping on a good day so Black Friday seems like Hell to me. Instead, I am spending time with family and starting to look ahead to Christmas. Each year, I think about quilting some things as decoration and last year, I actually got an advent calendar made for my daughter, but usually things end up in my UFO pile. That’s still true this year, but I have now finally finished the top (without the borders) for a McKenna Ryan Christmas quilt that I have been working on for, oh, like 10 years. Maybe it will be quilted and hanging for Christmas 2017!
On this day of thanksgiving, in between the turkey and the really awkward conversations about politics with family, I want to take a few minutes to thank you for being here. After some struggle, I am finally living the life of my dreams, pursuing the work that I believe to be my calling, but that at the very least brings me great joy. I want to thank you all for being part of this journey with me, for reading my ramblings all of these years and for your support. I am extremely grateful for all of you.
I have been continuing to work on my BirdZeed project for November, for which I’m quilting an illuminated letter. I drew out my design on Golden Threads quilting paper. This was the first time that I had used the paper and I’m sold. I used tracing paper before because I had it on hand and it was a complete pain to remove. The Golden Threads came off pretty easily, even with the tiny, tiny little sections I sewed. (I found that scratching at it like I was rubbing a scratch ticket worked well in those little spots, though my studio does need a serious vacuuming.) However, I used pencil to draw my design right on the paper and I don’t recommend that. Sketch on regular paper and then copy the final design with a permanent marker or something because the pencil lead seems to have really rubbed off on the thread. The drawn side was up and was not touching the fabric, but this looks like I quilted with gray thread and I did not. The thread was white when I started. So, lesson learned.
I’m now boning up on how to use Tsukineko inks for the next step – coloring between the lines! I’ve only used the inks a tiny bit before so this is going to be some real Creative Play for me. I can’t wait!
This month’s Birdzeed challenge word is “typography.” My first inclination was toward Arabic calligraphy, but then I thought about illuminated letters. This is just a rough sketch, but here’s what I am planning:
Peace and Quiet
Last month, I wrote about Morning Pages from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and their goal of getting the crap out of your head so that your mind is clear for creative work. One of the other goals of Morning Pages is to slow you down long enough to get you in touch with your own thoughts. I know, that sounds a little crazy. After all, if you’re not in touch with your own thoughts, who is? But, when I got started on my recent personal creativity journey, I was moving so fast that it was like a Road Runner cartoon in my head. My legs were spinning and I was moving at warp speed and everything else around me was a blur, including my own thoughts.
I worked with a life coach during this time and one of the things she told me to do one Friday was to sit in a chair (I could drink my tea) and just sit there, not reading, not doing anything else until I really felt compelled to do something. Then, once I had finished that task, I was to sit down until I felt moved again. My reaction when she told me this was, “What???!!!! Are you kidding? What if I don’t feel moved to do anything? Do you really want me to sit in a chair all day?” Her response was, “Yes.” Well, I am a serious student so I did my homework. I settled into the chair with my cup of tea and I drank the whole thing. Then, I felt moved to go make myself some breakfast. Then, I sat back in the chair again. One of the things I realized as I sat there that day was how long it had been since I had had a day off. I mean a real day off and not a day off from work to clean the house and run the errands, etc., but a day off to play. I couldn’t actually remember the last day that I had done that so I am pretty sure it had been years. The other thing that I realized was that once I finished mentally reviewing my To Do list, I actually had some creative ideas in my head. Who knew?
It shouldn’t have been such an epiphany because it seems so obvious, but it was a real “ah ha moment” for me to realize how important it was to slow down. Slow is not my M.O. at all. I am the person who can get an amazing amount of stuff done and still be in bed by 10 PM. But, that lifestyle is not compatible with creativity. Let me say that again. Running around all day from To Do list item to To Do list item getting a lot accomplished, but never stopping for a moment IS NOT COMPATIBLE WITH CREATIVITY. It’s exhausting, for one thing. But, inspiration does not wedge itself in between the grocery list and the phone calls to return. Ideas need a little breathing space and that only happens if your mind is at rest.
A cousin of mine is a new dad. When I went into my stash looking for inspiration for the baby quilt, I found this sock monkey fabric and knew immediately that it was perfect. As a kid, my cousin had a beloved sock monkey that was never very far away. I made one giant 32″ inch square Churn Dash block, which is also called a Double Monkey Wrench, added the borders and voila! I do have to say that the Modern Quilting practice of taking one block and blowing it up to make it a full quilt is brilliant. Sewing 9 super larger squares couldn’t have been quicker.
These blocks are the first four of the 49 I will make for the victims of the shooting at the nightclub in Orlando just a few months ago.
I’ve finished all of my thread painting and have my completed Cancer Moon Shot Ribbon Quilt block. It didn’t completely flatten out so there’s some batting on the back of the moon for a little trapunto. (I planned that all along, really I did. 🙂 )