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Wednesday, 25 November 2020

The Eating Out Stage

Friday is moving day. Other than the essentials which, of course, include projects to work on, everything else is in a box at the ready. It's the eating out stage of moving. So familiar. Although my intention had been to stay in this house until I went to the old, old, old people house rather than to flip it, that's what I used to do, flip houses, for fifteen years, so I have a LOT of moving experience. Waiting to go is much easier with something to do. 

The segments are layered with backing and batting and I'm at the stitching stage with the patchwork purse, stitching each of the four segments as well as the gusset individually before putting them together. I started by drawing a 30-degree chalk line and then used the edge of the presser foot to evenly space the stitched rows across each segment. A slightly longer stitch length creates - IMHO - a better look. For seams, I use a 2.5 stitch length and for topstitching, I use 3.0. 

Visual clutter sits on my nerves, irritates me, and can actually prevent me from getting anything done so in every other area of my life I'm more of a minimalist than not, except in the studio. There, I like to stash plenty of potential although if you asked some of my friends, they'd say I'm a minimalist in there too. I don't keep what I don't need however, by my measurement, this is the space where I have the most stuff and that becomes even more evident when I take it all out of its place and put it in boxes. Many boxes. The ones above all need to fit into the new and smaller studio. 

I decided to paint my sewing desks before moving just for a bit of a change. They will go in the studio as well as two desk chairs and the oak jewelry desk you can just see peaking out behind the chair. Jewelry is a relatively new medium. I am learning how to create it by combining textiles, beading, wire weaving, and metalwork. The jewelry desk is where I put the parts together. I was wondering where in the new house it was going to go and then, when I set up the practice studio, was surprised to see that it fit in the studio. And glad. 

The metalworking supplies will go in half of the garage. It'll mean limiting my working time to the warmer months and that's okay. For the past five years, the warmer months have been spent working on the yard. Going forward, I'll be happy to spend some of them in the garage, at the bench, working with metal. I have a project in progress that I'm looking forward to getting back to. 

Have you ever had a practice studio? Did it help you transition well to your new space?

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - plenty of potential

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Mostly Mindless Sewing

I wanted a moving project to fill the seven weeks between buying the condo and leaving here. Waiting is not my strong suit and there is only so much packing that can be done in advance. I have a busy brain. Unless I give it something to think about, it will get into trouble starting with being upset and resentful before moving into creating unnecessary drama. Que the patchwork purse!

SUCH a surprise. Although at one time I designed, wrote about, and taught patchwork, I haven't actually done any in a really long time. And then I found myself in a quilt shop, buying a selection of black prints, looking forward to the gentle calm of cutting and stitching and sewing strips. It's mostly mindless sewing that lets my hands move with ease while my mind bubbles with creativity. LOTS of bubbling. I'm very good at thinking! 

I bought two fat quarters of each fabric and cut one of each into 2 1/2" strips before sewing them together. The design has four side segments so I then cut and stitched the strips into....


... four different configurations not worrying too much about carefully matched seams which is hilarious because one of the books I wrote was on exactly that topic. It's at times like these that we see how much our life has changed over the years. At one time, precise was absolutely important to me and now, I'm far more interested in things being organic. 

While I was working on these segments, a friend came to stay and sew together in my studio. Having company in the studio is something I never used to do, ever, and now it is something I really enjoy. But not always. Just every once in a while.

Luckily, we both live fairly isolated lives so we were able to get together within the covid protocols. Without workshops and road trips this year, it was a real energy boost to share creativity and conversation. I'm grateful.

The pattern is Swirling Shells from Yoko Saito's book Bags I Love To Carry although I'm not actually following the pattern, just using the shape of the bag and doing my own thing. A lot of Yoko's work is done by hand; mine is done by machine. She uses a lot of applique; I rarely do. That said, the architectural style of many Japanese designers is one that I really appreciate and I especially liked the curved sides of this bag. I'm imagining it larger. 

These are the remnants from cutting up only one each of the fat quarters. I not only have six more fat quarters but these scraps to evolve into something else. I enjoy working with remnants whether they are from clothing or quilting. I've become addicted to their free potential. 

What is your favourite type of mindless sewing? 

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - the gentle rhythm of mindless sewing and shared creativity with a friend

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

The Practice Studio

The last time I saw the condo was mid October when I signed off on the subjects. While there, I measured my new studio space - formerly the master bedroom - to set up the practice studio for a least a month before moving. The new space is smaller. Before moving, I wanted to know what would fit and what wouldn't and to become familiar with the flow to make the transition easier. 

The spacious studio I have now has been the envy of many and a real luxury that I am grateful for however, if I'm completely honest, it has also subtly pressured me with the feeling that I somehow had to live up to it. Ten years ago, my career in textiles suddenly ended and I've struggled off and on ever since trying to find my feet again. Of course, I didn't need to feel pressured but even so, its subtle presence still existed.

I've always been a small group, small space, kind of person. Moving to a smaller studio feels like less is more, like I'll be more focused and more engaged and those are definitely two things I want to feel.

Moving is making me think not only about how I will work in my studio but also about what I will work on. It's good to stop and evaluate the how and the what every once in a while and make the big or subtle shifts necessary to enhance our creativity.  

The white cabinets at the back of the room in the image above are spaced to measure the distance of one currently in my kitchen that will be moving to the studio. Right now, the white dresser holds patterns and office supplies but it's not the best choice so I'm looking for something to take its place. The work island and the desks have been with me for a really long time. They are invaluable surfaces, like a good friend I can't bear to be parted from. They also make it easy to move. Each desk has three baskets underneath it and the contents of the drawers and the shelves in the island are predesignated. I won't have to think about what to put where, just take it out of the box and put it where it belongs. 

Where I will have to think is with fabric and yarn storage. In this studio, they were stored in six of the white cabinets. Two of the cabinets will go inside the closet in my new studio with a bit of extra room to one side and four are not coming with me. They are moving to a friend's studio. The under-the-stair storage I have now will disappear and there is no equivalent to replace it meaning that there will be more downsizing in my future. I prefer to have my studio stashed at 80% capacity to allow for more creative flow and although I'll sift and sort while packing, I'm pretty sure I will still have too much. We'll see how that goes. 

Meanwhile, the flow of this new space is making sense. The wall to the left of the island will be the wall with the window in the new studio. When I'm working at the island, I'll be looking out the window. The space between the island and the wall is the only tight space. It's about two feet wide and I wish it were three. Maybe that will change in the actual space. If not, I'll adjust. 

I started sewing in grade eight home economics when I sat down at the machine and fell in love. I've sewn ever since, everything from lingerie to outerwear, and I made a career out of sewing. It's how I breath. I've had a designated sewing space ever since graduating and while it has varied in size, it has always existed. I believe that in order to be our most creative self, it is essential to have that designated space and that having it says something important - to ourselves and to others - about how much we value ourselves and our creativity. 

What is your studio like? Have you ever had a practice studio?

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - the practice studio 

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

The Only Thing Constant Is Change

While this is a new blog, I am not new to blogging. In fact, if calculated correctly, this will be my sixth blog in almost twenty years. Who knew blogging had even been around that long. At one time, they were popular, and then not so much, and now it seems they are making a resurgence. I hope so. Of all the platforms, this is by far my favourite way to share my creativity and to support and encourage the creativity of others. 

To say that 2020 has been an interesting year is a HUGE understatement. As the saying goes, the only thing constant is change and there have been plenty of changes both globally and personally. The last post on my last blog was in May. It wasn't meant to be the last post however, with some of the upheavals going on in my personal life, I needed a chance to figure out which was was up and which, of all the possible new directions, I wanted to follow. 

When my youngest son, who was also my tenant, told me he was moving, my first thought was me too. Suddenly, it was exactly the thing I felt called to do after saying I would never leave my pond house. It went up for sale on a Friday afternoon at the end of September, had fourteen viewings over the weekend, and was sold on the Tuesday morning. I bought a condo four blocks away. 

I moved to this city five years ago but even before then, when I wanted to live here but didn't, I would drive around and think about which neighbourhood I might live in. When I did move, I admired this complex only it wasn't the right time in my life for a condo. Now, it is. I've always been a fan of Craftsman style architecture, front porches, and the overtone of slow country living. My style is eclectic, colourful, farmhouse. 

My unit is on the left. It backs up to the same creek that runs through the pond at the house I'm selling and connects to the same walking paths that meandered behind that house and throughout the city. The window in my new studio will face in this direction and when it is open, I'll hear the creek gurgling even while I'm sewing which is different than looking up to see the pond and equally good. Such a blessing. 

The front yard is a postage stamp and the back is not much bigger only, it's ugly. At the pond house, I spent five years moving dirt, creating curved gardens and meandering walkways, and building wooden decks and rock retaining walls. I may have been holding yet still another rock when my son said he was moving because I definitely wanted a break from that.

This summer, I turned fifty-eight which is getting close to sixty, a number that is still just a number but one that does make you think. When I thought about what I wanted to do over the next decade, yardwork is not what came to mind. I wanted more time to walk, to ride my bike, to visit with friends, to make new friends, to take road-trips and workshops, to play in my studio, to lean even further into creativity, to be my best self, and so much more. It's exciting to now have more time to go in that direction.  

Next spring, I will make the postage stamp pretty but it will be another year or even longer before I fix the back yard. Apparently, it was professionally landscaped. Hmm... I'm an amateur. I can do better. But not right now. For one summer at least, I'll sit on the deck, enjoy the sun, and listen to the creek. 

What changes are you dealing with? What choices are you making?

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - new beginnings