Thursday, October 19, 2017

Scraps and Substrates

Do you know this picture that hangs at the Art Institute - Chicago?  It is That Which I Should Have Done I Did Not Do (The Door) by Ivan Albright.  It was in the World Literature book I taught from for many years, and it has intrigued me.  It was in the Human Nature and Justice portion of the book. 

I should be working on commissioned projects.  Yet, today I want to play with my scraps.  My scraps are having scraps.  And honestly?  Many of my scraps are from fabrics that I just love. 

Victoria Finlay Wolfe wrote a book Fifteen Minutes of Play and suggested just playing with fabrics in an improv manner daily or when blocked.  I did this yesterday when I finished the top of the t-shirt quilt I'm working on . 

I picked out all my grey, black and white bits from the current scraps pile.  And then I remembered to take the lid off this "scrap pile" and of course found more bits.  And then I remembered the bin of grey, black, white and red fabrics for one of my many unfinished projects.   And now I'm playing. 

I am not working on the several almost finished Tudor bags.  I am not working on the 4 cute little RunAround bags due Thanksgiving.  I am not working on the t-shirt quilt (truly I'm waiting for its owner to make a decision about the outer border).  I am not working on the Sloan bag which I am really eager to start. 

Before I get back to work, I must discuss substrates, a word I never used or heard in connection to sewing/quilting until Sunday, when three guildsters and I did a little presentation on bag-making.  Betty Lou from North Texas, this next part is for you!

It's frustrating to spend time making something out of quilting cottons, knowing that cottons don't last forever.  Face it, we aren't working with concrete or wood.  But quilts, even ones that are used a lot, last fairly long because the layers - the top, batting, and backing -  give strength.  Apply this same principal to bag making.  The longer you want something to last, the more you need to pay attention to the substrate(s) used.  Here are my two favorite substrates for bag-making:

Shape Flex 101, a fusible midweight interfacing.  It comes in white AND black.

My 60" x  I-dion't-know-how-many-yards of Soft and Stable.  Think thin foam that you can sew and quilt on.

The purse I carry daily and my matching travel bag are holding up beautifully.  I interfaced each purse/bag piece with ShapeFlex 101 and then quilted it onto Soft and Stable.  And here's the result:

For simple bags, like Morsbags, the only part I will use a "substate" on are the handles, if I make them.  More and more, I am using cotton webbing/strapping for the handles.  My husband will take one and jam it into his back pocket before he walks to Trader Joe's.  In fact, for him, I will make Mors bag out of a batik, because it's more tightly woven than most others cottons, and not even line it.  Perfect for jamming into a pocket. 

To get back to "That Which I Should Have Done But Did Not Do", when I am stuck on a project or when I'm not sure which of the several projects in front of me to work on, I will often make a Mors bag, just because I know in 45 minutes I will have something that is completed.

For now, I'm going back to scraps!  check out the last picture for the direction my scraps are headed in.

Scraps on the table

Scraps on the work table

Scraps on top of the scrap "basket"

The inside of the scrap "basket"

T-shirt Quilt waiting for a border decision

12.5" blocks

Monday, October 16, 2017

Monday's Projects

Travel Agent's T-shirt Quilt in process -
Four Tudors almost completed + two finished ones, three of them sold, and one for Wayne's daughter!

Four RunArounds will come from these fabrics. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

A Special Month - part 2

Last year I learned that the average age of  Nobel winner is 67.  A year ago that seemed such an optimistic fact.  Well, today I am 68.  So it goes.  No prize for me.  We are in San Francisco and coming home tomorrow.  We celebrated John's 78th birthday Thursday in northern California.  We may not be Nobel winners, but we are keenly aware that every day is big prize.  We are so thankful for our health and our mental acuity  ***knocking wood*** 

I'm doing a short demo on bag making at my guild meeting next Sunday.  And then I am making a Sloan Bag, one of my favorite patterns, for a friend.  She has chosen the feature fabric on the left of the above picture.  And then?  Back to SewPowerful purses.  I only sent in 6 for the October deadline.  The next deadline in February.  I hope to certainly double and perhaps triple that number. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

A Significant Month

 I'm about to have a 10-year studio anniversary.  As my studio was being constructed, my college roommate Dodie was dying.  The day of her memorial service in December 2016 was the first day that I was able to shower in the studio bathroom.  And I started my blog in January 2017 - those early blog entries were often about Dodie.  And almost10 years later?  I'm still blogging about her.

Dodie had three children - Mani and twins Paul and Virginia.  I watched these three grow. I made quilts for their high school graduations.  After Dodie died, Mani and Virginia gave me all of Dodie's flannel nightgowns, and I made quilts for the three grandchildren.  Then I made a quilt for Virginia.  And then a quilt for Mani.  But never for Paul.  So this quilt?  It's being mailed to Portland, OR, where he lives. 
Years ago there was a quilt exhibit in Indianapolis, and Dodie invited me down and suggested we go to it.  After being there about 30 minutes, she said she couldn't look at one more quilt because they were making her dizzy and nauseous.   This quilt back?  It has that effect.  I understand exactly what Dodie meant then and thought of her as I was creating this quilt backing. 

Grief is a process, and I am still grieving Dodie.  That's true of grief.  Oddly enough, it's a life-long process.