I was incredibly pleased for The Child when he received a package from famous quilt artist, Pamela Allen last week. In it she had created a quilt-let inspired by a drawing that The Child did while she was doing a teaching-visit last year.
It is so fantastic to see her interpretation of The Child’s drawing in fabric. I especially love her quilting designs. Can you see the trees at the top?
The Child, admittedly, was a bit mystified, but I told him that Pamelala was a famous artist who had interpreted his fabulous design in her medium. I think that his reaction was a good example of how we, as a society, devalue, and as a result squelch, what children can do. I will hang the piece in his room to remind him that he has value and that other adults, besides his adoring family member-fans, think he does good work.
Normally, Saturday mornings, if I am not rushing off somewhere immediately, are filled with Qi Gong, cups of tea and bottles of water, Saturday morning cartoons, and me trailing around the house in my pajamas picking up the debris from the week, loading the dishwasher and generally reveling in being unfocused. This morning is somewhat different. The boys took off at the crack of dawn for a hike, so I have the house to myself for several hours. The peace and quiet are a treat.
I have been struggling for at least a week, probably longer, with an exhausted kind of malaise that has no discernible medical cause. A large part of it stems from my day job, which has turned, somewhat, into a source of anxiety and stomach problems. I am on the BRAT diet almost full-time now, daring to eat salsa and guacamole only on Friday nights, so I have two days to recover before the week starts again. Some of it stems from the creative juices that constantly inhabit my mind, demanding attention, about which I have no time to do satisfy their greed. Some of it stems from the fact that my wireless network is not working properly so my workroom does not get Internet access very well anymore (those of you with no wireless or who have dial-up connections are calling me a spoiled brat right now and you would be correct). This forces me, if I am working up there to constantly run up and down the stairs to look up something on the web or write in my blog. With the malaise, I haven’t been doing it and you, dear readers, have suffered. Some of it stems from the constant drudgery of modern living. Finally, the constant blaring of bad news on the radio and headlines creates a feeling of limited options that produces further anxiety and is not conducive to anything more than going to sleep early or writing book reviews on Goodreads.
On the positive creativity front, I think there was only one evening this week that was so packed that the Child and I did not engage in our creativity time. Oh the Fury and Wrath of the Child for the few activities he deigns to engage in that prevent him from drawing with me at night! The other nights, though, while The Child draws cartoons furiously with his Sharpie in a giant drawing book, I have been cutting purple squares for a new sibling to Feelin’ Blue and Seeing Red, called, for the moment, Passionate Purple. I may change it to the Passion of the Purple, but I don’t want people to think about Lent and the death of religious figures when they look at my quilt, so I may not.
Friend Julie and Friend Adrienne have already cut their squares. The ones I need to work on arrived from Julie yesterday. Thus, I am the only slacker in this project right at the moment. Despite my incredible exhaustion, it was mentally easy to allow The Child to drag me upstairs for our creativity time. I have to cut 40 squares of 10×10″ each. I was able to cut about 25 last night, so I am well on my way. I can finish today and send them off on Monday.
One fun thing about this project (and all of the bullseye projects) is that I get to look at fabrics that I haven’t looked at in a while. I cut into some fabulous purple batiks and looked at some pieces that had strange shapes cut out of them, trying to remember what I made!
In the last little while, I made two more of the Eco Market totes in 15 minute increments over the period of several weeks (damn straps!). I did spend all day last Sunday sewing the bags together, breaking the cycle of 15 minute creativity.
This is my bag. As I mentioned in a previous post, the idea of these bags is wonderful to me. These bags make a relatively easy series (except, of course, for the damn straps!) and they use fabric in a different way than quilts. They are also useful.
In this version, I made the straps with a piece of fabric filled with batting. I like them even if they were a bit fussy to make. The straps are a bit fluffy, but don’t look fluffy. Since I usually drag around two books, a journal, and a bottle of water MINIMUM, I am glad to have straps that aren’t digging into my shoulder.
The fabric was a gift from a friend, who lives in France part of the year. She brought me back some big pieces when she first bought her French house. Awhile ago, I used some bits of the fabric for a small decorative bathroom curtain before we remodeled, but had large pieces of it left. I decided that those big pieces would be great for a bag, so I made two!
Above is the bag for my friend. It came out well (above), as well, but the thing I learned is that it is too confusing to make two bags at once. I had a problem with the fabric (not enough!), so I had to dig around around to find some fabrics that would go with the real French fabrics. If I had made one bag first, I would have known I wouldn’t have enough fabric to make the second and could have arranged the fabric differently when making the second bag.
Nevertheless, it should come as no big surprise that it was no problem to find a couple of extra fabrics that were suitable. One was an old fabric (see the blue kind of swirly fabric next to the fabric with leaves in the picture below? or the straps in the full picture of my bag a couple of photos above). That blue was one of the first quiltmaking fabrics that I bought. I found that I could never cut into it, because I really liked it. I wanted to use it in a project that I could admire frequently. The color blue is not really a color that I use or wear a lot, so it has been languishing. Now I know why. 😉
The gold with the blue jaggedy, swirls motif is another I found as well as the one from which I cut the vase motifs.
At the last minute I decided to add the large pocket to the outside of my bag. A large pocket is very useful and I don’t know why I considered NOT adding it. As you can see from the photo above, I had to piece together some leftover pieces of fabric to get a piece large enough to make the pocket. You need double what you see there, because the pocket is lined. This task, though frustrating, because it felt like I could never finish these bags, was great because it allowed me to fussy cut that little vase and use it on the outside. Also, instead of finishing the pocket with a button, I sewed down one side of the vase to create two pockets out of the big pocket. There is a smaller pocket on the inside and by sewing over it, it was divided and I created a perfect spot for a pen or pencil.
The smaller pocket looks like the above, but the one pictured is inside of the bag pocket not the inside of the big pocket pocket — if that makes any sense. I turned one of the bags inside out in order to get a picture of the pocket. Shooting into the bag didn’t work very well for various reason, especially because I don’t have four hands.
This is the entire bag turned inside out so you can see the placement of the pocket. This pocket is not in the pattern and I realized, as I was about to sew the bag together, that since the inside pocket was not part of the pattern it didn’t remind me to sew the raw edges. DUH. I turned under the edges and sewed them neatly so that pocket wouldn’t fray apart with use. This pocket is good for a transit pass and, perhaps, a bit of emergency cash.
This is the same vase as is on my bag. I did the same fussy cutting for my friend’s bag as well.
So, dear readers, I am on my third cup of tea and if you have made it this far, I hope you haven’t given up on my musings. I am still musing away. I’ll try to figure out the new work processes that I require so I don’t leave you hanging again.