22 May 2008

Control and creativity

My office is moving. In fact, the movers have picked up some boxes today and one of my quilts is inside. It's only going a few buildings away, and I've moved them internationally before this, but that sense of having to trust the Fates kicks in anyway.

This same feeling (albeit at greater intensity) occurrs during childbirth and surgery.

I suppose that most of the time I enjoy a sense that I'm at the helm of my ship. Taking a hand off the tiller and going with the current becomes necessary sometimes though. You risk loss to gain something else.

And yet, letting go for the purpose of creativity doesn't seem so risky. Sure, you could end up with a strange result that uses up some favorite fabric, but there is always another process you could subject the result to. Overlay, scorch, paint, chop, fuse, gild, or sew a bead over. I think of this as being diverged from my intended path but still on a road to somewhere.

16 May 2008

How the Bowls are Made

Erica asked how the bowls in my past post are made. There are a couple books out and Fons & Porter did a recent show on this technique (in case pictures work better for you than words). The gist is that you cut one inch wide strips (don't even need to be bias) and you wrap them around clothesline. To start a new strip you overlap slightly and keep going. Sliding the wraps down the clothesline until they are a bit taut helps. Use a binder clip or a clothespin to hold the strip end to the clothesline (a sort of third hand for you).

Obviously, starting and stopping take a bit of finesse. To begin, you need to cover the end and then get going on an angle as you start winding.

To start sewing, you need not wrap the whole length--even one strip will do. With a denim needle in your machine and sturdy top thread (though I have successfully used rayon embroidery thread on the top), use a zig zag or that utility zig zag that is used on elastic in lingerie. Start your coil (you begin at the center of the bottom of your bowl and work up) and make sure you push the leading edge of your rope toward your coil and catch both as you zig zag along. Needle down position will help a lot.

You'll soon find you have something that looks like a drink coaster. To get the sides of the bowl to begin to slope up form the botton, you need to hold the bottom at an angle as you sew on more rope.

Changing colors is the same as adding a new strip--just overlap a little and keep winding.

To end is tricky. Cut the clothesline a bit ahead of where you intend to finish. Cut the wrapping strip a bit beyond that and taper and tuck in the raw end so the last part of your zig zagging will catch it. I'm still working this part out.

12 May 2008

Bowled over

Yep, more bowls. This time these are a gift to a colleague at work celebrating a birthday. She recently introduced me to etamame (young soy beans in the pod) and that was the inspiration for the green one. The birthday girl has a 1-1/2 year old daughter so the pink one is for her.
Everyone says to use cotton clothesline for these. I had trouble finding any so one bowl is made with polyester and the other with nylon clothesline. Both worked.
The pink bowl is made largely from the strips I trimmed off the backing of a small quilt I'm making.

06 May 2008

Stretching the definition of bowl

I am involved in my first series--candy dishes for the office on seasonal themes. I keep at it because the "out of season" one on the front desk sort of nags me as I walk past. This current one is meant to cover "Spring" and perhaps early Summer.
As may be obvious, it started out square and I sort of pinched and squished until it bowed into a semblence of a bowl. Luckily, the office favors wrapped hard candy which doesn't roll.
Meanwhile I am hand-quilting feathers on a baby quilt. It is almost done. The hopelessly girly pink hearts appliqued on it probably represent my natural optimism because I don't know the gender of the baby to be born to my next door neighbor. So it will be either right on time or really early for the next girl baby I encounter. If it is a boy, I have another quilt top that could be machine quilted in a hurry, if necessary!