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Sunday, 1 May 2016

Balancing work and craft

I think I'm getting close to chucking it all in and finding myself a tiny cabin in the bush so I can spend my days stitching and knitting. This work business is not all it's cracked up to be. I know I'm only back doing four days a week, but it's not just the hours – it's the mental energy that eats away at my precious textile time. That's why this weekend has been so glorious. Three days of fabric, thread and yarn. I have a lot to catch you up on, so let's get started...
Blue Giant quilt in progress
Blue Giant quilt in progress – pattern available here.

First the denim quilt. Let's face it, I'm not really a quilter. It's the part of the process I like least, which is why I usually send it off to get quilted. With this one however, I wasn't sure there'd be too many people up for quilting denim, and the idea of machine quilting didn't appeal. So, that left me with hand-quilting it myself. It wasn't the quilting part I found daunting, but rather the basting. Hundreds of safety pins through thick denim? That didn't sound like fun, so I decided to give spray basting a go. In general I'm not super-keen on the idea of spray basting. As a designer I've used enough spray adhesive in my life to know sticky lungs, sticky furniture, not to mention the aerosol-can waste, go along with the more professional finish.

Anyway, I headed down to the car park in my building on a Monday (when I figured no-one would be driving in and out), and went down the far end which is open to the outside for ventilation and away from the cars to avoid incidental spraying. I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of fumes – I'd still recommend wearing a mask – and the result was enough to make me a spray-baste convert! Honestly, I'm never happy with pinning – it's never as flat as I'd like it, and because it takes me so long to quilt anything, the whole thing just becomes more uneven as I go. With spray-basting however, I've been rolling this quilt up, chucking it on the couch or in a corner, and it's still perfect. I'm also really enjoying the process of hand-quilting. I'm using sashiko thread and pretty large stitches (a bit under a quarter of an inch), but it's very cathartic. The deadline for this quilt is Christmas, and I'm writing a quilt pattern at the same time) so I think it's going to spend many a winter's night on my lap while I work my way back and forth across it.
Next, is the exhibition work. Our application is due in about 20 days, but we're hoping for a slot later in the year. I've done some little test pieces, had all my fabric, but there was something about the design that didn't feel resolved. It all came together however, on a plane on my way back from a work trip to Brisbane, so yesterday I started the piece proper.
Woo hoo!
I actually got five of the 11 panels together this weekend – much more than I thought I would. And at least I've set myself up with some no-thinking, hand-stitching to do between now and when I'll have time to have the machine (and my mathematical brain to figure out the next panel) out again.
Last, there's the knitting. So close on this one now. Fronts and back, blocked and seamed, sleeves knitted, and now I'm just making my way around the bands... I'll be wearing it in no time! Pattern details all on my Ravelry page if you're interested.

Hope life is treating you all well, and leaving you plenty of time for the things you're passionate about.

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to see the end results, especially the exhibition piece. I've been lucky enough to see your plans for the finished product. Where you get your ideas from is beyond me. It's a real gift.