Category Archives: process

It Became an Obsession

I have to admit it started awhile ago. I opened one of the drawers next to my sewing machine and I found a whole boatload of curvy fabrics from a workshop. I know it was a Nancy Crow workshop but I am not sure which one. I quickly shut the drawer knowing I was deep in holiday mania making mode.

But I didn’t forget it. In fact, that drawer became this little niggling thought in my head.  What could I make with those strips? It needed to be cut up. What am I waiting for?

No it doesn’t need to be cut up. It’s ugly.

Yes it does. Don’t you see how much of it there is?

Then began the era of procrastination purging. If I use it up, then I would have a whole empty drawer. Ok, Ok. Normal sane people would just dump the drawer in the trash and move on. Nope not me. It needs to be used. It can be beautiful . I know it can.

Now, I am going on day 4 of trying to make something wonderful with some not so wonderful strips. It has become more of an obsession to make something wonderful .  Up and down and cut and sew some more. It was four times as large as you see in this last photo. Crazy piecing  with strips in colors that I would never choose to sew together today. And finally, tonight, I have given myself a deadline.

If it isn’t sewn together by tomorrow night, it will not be done. Ever . The obsession has become very irrational which is why they call it an obsession.

And there is good reason why I do much better with a set of goals at the beginning of the week and stick to it. Otherwise I waste time with ill thought out projects.  Ugh.

(PS- I keep trying to fix my blogroll  on the right but can’t get it to work properly. I will call in the experts and see how to get this done or removed. )

WW continues and a list

The past two weeks have been used…mmm…in an odd manner. The last ten days I have been kind of manic in my sewing. I went away to a retreat with some members of a bee I belong to. I spent 3 days madly stitching together some gifts and charity quilts and I sewed for probably 12- 14 hours per day again.  The manic sewing continued when I got home. I purchased fabric for backing, fabric for tops,  and I have kept relentlessly sewing.

I put together a quilt top for a friend who is ill.  I didn’t like it so I pieced another. I put together 2 tops for my brothers for Christmas. One  top is done but the other isn’t. I made two charity baby quilt tops. I think that would be a count of five pieced functional quilts.  AND they aren’t really quilts yet because they are only tops at this point. Is it reasonable to think I can finish 5 quilts before Christmas and have time for art???

I really diagnose my self with continued Workshop Withdrawal yet. It is the only excuse I can think of for all this mess I have just created. I have sewn with abandon and made the pile of  unfinished projects HUGE in my studio. The only cure for this mess I have created is a list. I need to re-focus some of my manic energy into a reasonable and FOCUSED list. What needs to be finished first this week and what can wait?

Ugh, I hate it when I do this to myself. I take full responsibility.

And add to that fixing this boring blog. It needs color. It needs photos. A header. You get the picture, don’t you?


Workshop Withdrawal

I vowed it would not happen this time. I promised myself I would not come home to workshop withdrawal. I have been to six intensive workshops at the Barn and each time I have returned home, I fall flat. It takes way too much time to regain my momentum in the studio. The first few days I catch up on everything that is undone from my absence : I clean (always a novel concept), I iron clothes instead of fabric, I run errands that really can wait, I cook great dinners and I make cookies. I procrastinate. I do everything but return to the studio.

I rationalize it thinking I am overstimulated with new ideas. I write down all of the ideas in my journal. And I do nothing with them. Then, I think I am useless as an art quilter. After seeing all the great work that others have done, I compare myself to the famous and fall woefully short. I order books that will make me smarter.  I review my notes.

Then, I relax.  The studio is in order. I am going this weekend to travel  to see my daughter at college in Iowa.  I am going to love on her and have fun with her. I am not going to think of my workshop withdrawal. Instead, on Monday I will do what I always do when I return from a workshop: make a baby quilt or two. It has worked every time.

What do you do when the adrenaline from a workshop is gone?

How Do You Organize?

     I have spent some time re-organizing and purging my studio the last week or so. I feel like I do it every few months but I am now actually getting rid of supplies I know I won’t need. I moved some tables around and it just feels better now. And more room, of course, makes room for more fabric I will dye this summer. But the kind of re-organizing I need to do now is the kind I really don’t have a good system for-a good record of completed pieces. Sure, I have managed to loosely organize my photos but need things like measurements, dates completed, etc. The stuff you are looking for when you go to submit a piece to a show.

    So, my question for you is -what are you currently doing to organize your record of completed pieces? Just on your computer ?

    My kids are on spring break starting tomorrow. We have been left behind in Michigan where the rest of the population has left for Florida. Seriously, I am always wondering why it doesn’t just fall off and into the ocean with all the people that will be there from Michigan. We decided that rain, snow and 45 would be lovely instead.

   How do you organize that info? It would be helpful for me to know!

   You might have to be creative for me for the next week…I feel like every time I get going there is an interruption lately.  My kids told me that this week’s creation up on my design wall looks like a beach blanket. After a day or so, I had to agree. I am taking sections of it apart.  I don’t think beach-like is exactly what I was after. That’s life, my friends.

    I suspect I will be in and out the next week.

The Petting of The Fabric

       No, it really was the clean up of the studio. 🙂  I had gotten to the point where I kept losing my rotary cutter amidst the three tables and piles of fabric. And the scraps needed to be sorted and organized. I had too many piles to find the one-the only one I wanted- I needed for the binding. It’s almost back to normal. And after folding and sorting,  the missing piece of fabric was found.

     I also  prepared my “to go” basket.

     My “to go” basket is what keeps my sane for the next few months. It keeps my hands busy while I wait for sport practices, driver’s ed, guitar lessons,  and anything else that comes our way. We have a tournament this weekend and four games. Indoors in case you are thinking that we are playing outdoors already. No. Not yet.

     Ok, back to my basket. This is what is in it today.

1 . 2 sewing projects that need handwork and/or binding ( no sneak peeks-you will have to wait until they are done)
2. my sewing kit
3. my journal
4. my pencil case
5. one scarf.  I really want this done soon.
6. one book

     I have turned into the bag lady.

    But my kids have stopped being embarrassed by my knitting or sewing during the breaks. And every once in awhile someone will stop and ask to see what’s up now in my basket. What’s in your “to go” basket? Or do you leave it all at home?

     Be creative, my friends!

**Photos from Meijer Gardens-I know they have little to do with sewing but isn’t it beautiful there?

A Glimpse of Spring

     After yesterday’s post, I did go to Meijer Garden to put my brain to rest-stop overthinking things- and just kind of be. I knew it was time for the butterfly exhibit but I had no idea it was the first day of the exhibit! It was sunny and it was really gorgeous to see them all out.

So great to see buds even though we are a long ways from that here in Michigan.

 They were definitely showing off for us yesterday.

And I looked up and saw lines again. Remembering how much I love them and want to make them. And remembered I should stop whining(I detest whining in my kids.) And just get back to work. It ‘s the inbetween thing that is killing me.  Wanting to be on the other side of the bridge but just at the beginning of the journey and realizing how much work there is to get there.

Back to work I am. Be creative, my friends!

Feeling Torn

     I am giving myself all kind of explanations on why I just want to sew like this again. Take a look.

Red Pepper Quilts

Maybe because I really need some spring and am tired of all the dreariness.


 Maybe because I just miss commercial fabrics.

Film In The Fridge

Maybe because it’s the crisp white.

I could try some fabric from

Or from Whipstitch Fabrics.

Or I could just go upstairs and complete one of my many unfinished projects. Why does that feel like work today?

Maybe I just need spring. Or a trip to Meijer Gardens.

 Be creative, my friends!

In Case You Wonder

     One works. I hate to even say that. I am exhausted from fighting with them. Who would of thought? Two are never to be opened again. They have been said good-bye to. So of the two that are left, this is it. One is two years old and in my mind is a lemon. I don’t think I can deal with it anymore.  Either they cooperate or they are gone never to see a repair shop again. Only sold for parts. I couldn’t bear to offer them to someone else.

    But I have a teeny tiny confession after I sat with one of the owners yesterday-“to see if I wasn’t tugging while I did my machine quilting”. ( I wasn’t).  I think we figured this out- I was using regular sewing machine needles and not the commercial ones -it’s really small printing in that little new owner’s guide. Who would think I would take the time to read it?

     Lesson learned -always read the owner’s manual when you have a new machine. Commercial needles. I didn’t know. Exhausted from my own stupidity.

      I am not confessing this to my husband. He already doubts my sanity. If he asks, I will tell. But he is deathly sick of talking about it. I won’t torture him anymore. I will just ascend to my studio and sew.

     Thank you for listening. You may laugh. I do laugh at myself…..just not this time…..Yikes.

 Be creative, my friends.


     I have visions on a regular basis lately. I see this big stainless steel container-kind of like a big marble although giant. And inside of it , I have stuffed all four of my current machines. Yes , I said four. The unworking ones. The ones that have just returned from two different repair shops. And then there is explosive material in there. I will light a match and inside they will all explode. Never to be seen again. Melted. Pulverized. Gone. Poof. Never to torture me again. And I would breathe a big sigh of relief because they would be gone.

     And that is how my first day back from vacation is going. Dropping off machines again. The dealers agree I seem to be having lots of machine issues.

    Oh boy. I guess I have to clean. So sad.

January Calm

     I have completed the family calendar for January. I have gone back to more detailed filling in of event start and ending times. So school pickup is written in as a 30 minute block of time. It wasn’t even on the calendar before because I have been doing it for 18 years. But it does take time to do. And I was over the top excited by the fact I should have 20 hours a week for the next 6 weeks of studio time. Should is the key word. But that is conservative. If I am organized,  it could be 25 hours. And that is not counting the hours I squeeze in at night when they are all settled and in bed.

     I am super excited about January. What use to be a month of dreary days might just turn into a gift of time. Bring it on January. A new reason to celebrate the calm.

     Peek over at the tutorials at  The Sketchbook Challenge. So many creative people!

     Use your time to be creative, my friends! My time starts tomorrow. I’ll drive Erin back to college today.