25 July 2007

Before is My After

I’ve recently moved into our new home, a 50 year old house which does a good job of the nice features of older houses (like woodwork, arches and coved ceilings) while having a lot of the nice points of newer homes. Now I have the aforementioned studio. The cardboard boxes are empty and have been removed so now I have a lot of stacked plastic boxes holding my stash and tools.

The general plan is to preserve one wall as a design wall and then to make good use of the rest of the space—I’m tall so vertical is good. A few months ago, I acquired two long tables which are arranged in an L in one corner. Monday I got a snap-together very rugged 5 shelf unit that will hold the majority of my stash. All this stuff is hefty plastic—not one’s dream sewing room, but cost effective and useful in a garage or basement should I ever find myself in the position to upgrade some day to purpose built tables and cabinets.

As if to rub my nose in it, I saw a makeover of a sewing room in a recent magazine and the “before” table is just like mine! But then again, their “after” look seemed entirely impractical to me. One must have priorities!

Oh, and a tip: if you have large amounts of miscellaneous batting (wadding), get a huge vacuum storage bag and shrink it right down for storage.

10 July 2007

Mounting Textiles and A Room of One's Own

Paula, a co-worker of mine, found this very useful site on mounting and displaying textiles. Some of it is well presented received wisdom you may already be aware of, but a few of the entries are especially engenious and might have relevance for quilters as well as people who display rugs, tapestries, and other textiles. The page is attributed to Marla Mallett: http://www.marlamallett.com/mounting.htm

This week, my family takes possession of our new home. This includes bigger bedrooms and other desirables, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that having my own studio is overshadowing almost all else. Design walls and purpose built shelving are dancing in my head. Not that I'm getting either any time soon, but at least they are possible now. Studio space is all about the possible!

06 July 2007

Learning from other quilters

Some friends (see Erica and Brenda's blogs) and I are finding inspiration and lessons from the quilts of the Gee's Bend area of Alabama which have toured museums in the USA in recent years and have been the subject of postage stamps, books and great critical acclaim. See www.pbs.org/.../july-dec03/quilts_07-01.html for a nice news piece that you can watch or listen to on-line.

The picture (right) is my "etude" based on one of these quilts by Nettie Young. Hers is freer and more elaborate, but I learned a great deal about the formal relationships of the colors and shapes by trying a portion of the composition for myself. I rarely work in anything using fabrics that read this "solid" so it was interesting for me from that perspective too.

Please rest assured that once this quilt top is quilted and bound, my label will make the inspiration of this little exercise quite clear. I'm a big believer in attribution.

03 July 2007

It Really Isn't That Hard

When I arrived at work (GVSU is the largest of the comprehensive universities in the Midwest), I expected to find a quilting group on campus. I mean, it snows here so you could hardly avoid it, right? Instead, a well established group fo knitters came to light and a few individual names.

So inspired by a friend, Stephanie, who had moved from Sydney to Perth not long ago and was absolutely diving into the local scene, I decided that I should get the ball rolling.

Everyone was very helpful:
  • the director of work/life balance helped to get us off to a good start,
  • the local fabric store provided door prizes,
  • the quilters were supportive, and
  • three beginning quilters took the plunge at our first meeting.

I learned some things. Find a room that is accessible to people who need to avoid stairs. You need not have door prizes with number tickets--we had the names of quilt blocks and that was fun.