Granny Day Giveaway Still Open

Mal | Give-aways | Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Momma's De-Stash Giveaway 

I’m still recruiting guest authors, but this week I am hosting a Blog Give-away in honor of Granny Day. The winner will receive pieces from my mom’s fabric stash infusion. Be sure to check the details and enter up to 5 times!

Giveaway: Granny Day Celebration

Mal | Give-aways | Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Momma's De-Stash Giveaway

In honor of Granny Day, and in the spirit of her warmth, charity and generosity, I happily announce my first giveaway!

I say “first” because, seriously, in working through my mother’s stash, it is clear that this give-away idea needs to become a regular event. I highly recommend subscribing to this blog so that you don’t miss any opportunities.

Rather than pre-select fabrics to give away, I wanted to make this an interactive activity and somewhat related to art therapy. Each person can earn up to 5 chances to win!

Here’s how to play. Choose a color and determine an emotion that you associate with your color right now. For instance, you might say “Orange, because it’s so happy,” or “Purple makes me nostalgic; it reminds me of my Aunt Lilah.” The giveaway prize will be based on this answer, so be sure to give it some thought.

When the winner is selected randomly, I will choose 3 pieces of fabric (and a few other goodies) in your color and mail them off to you. See? This way you have some control over what you receive in the giveaway! (Please note — fabrics have been pre-washed and ironed.)

To earn your five contest entries:

  1. Leave a comment on this blog entry telling us your color and emotion. Include your name/email address if you are commenting anonymously.
  2. Post a link to this contest on your blog, telling us your color and emotion. Be sure to link to this entry so that I can track it. If you don’t see your link posted below as a pingback, please email me and we’ll resolve it.
  3. Subscribers to this blog will find a secret contest entry phrase at the bottom of my RSS and email feeds for the next week. Send me an email with the subject “Giveaway Secret Phrase” and include the secret phrase in the body of your email along with your color and emotion. Find out how to subscribe here, if you haven’t already.
  4. If you’re on twitter, tweet about entering this contest. Say, “I’m entering to win _________ because it makes me feel _________. #turningturning.com” (without quotes, inserting your color and emotion in the blanks) so I’ll be able to find it.
  5. If you do all 4 of the above entries, you earn an extra “bonus” point! Send me an email with the subject line “Giveaway Bonus Point” and I’ll hit you up!

The contest will be open until 11:59 p.m. (US Pacific Time) on Tuesday, April 21, 2009. Good luck and spread the word! I’ve got a lot of fabric sitting around here and if this is successful, we’ll make it a recurring event.

Tutorial: Quilter’s Knot

Mal | Media,Quilting,Sewing,Tutorials | Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

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I’ve been gone for the past week attending my brother’s wedding. (You probably only noticed if you sent me an email and are waiting for a response!)

Because I was with my mom again, I convinced her to let me take photos of a few of the techniques she’s recently taught me. The first I wanted to share is called the “quilter’s knot” and it makes a much tidier knot than the one I’m used to. Normally, I lick my finger, wrap around and around, and twist it off. The resulting bird’s nest of a knot is unpredictable and, well, ugly.

Not so with this tidy quilter’s knot. Enjoy these photos of my mom’s demonstration.

 Tutorial: Quilter's Knot 1

To begin, hold the needle and the end of the thread so that they are pointing toward each other.

Tutorial: Quilter's Knot 2

Bring them together to form a cross, then

Tutorial: Quilter's Knot 3

holding the end of the thread against the needle,

Tutorial: Quilter's Knot 4

begin wrapping the thread around the shaft of the needle.

Tutorial: Quilter's Knot 5

Wrap the thread around the needle 3-6 times.

Tutorial: Quilter's Knot 6

Grasp the wrapped threads snugly between your thumb and forefinger.

Tutorial: Quilter's Knot 7

Pull the needle through the coil of wrapped threads with your other hand.

Tutorial: Quilter's Knot 8

You’re still holding the coil between your thumb and forefinger as you pull.

Tutorial: Quilter's Knot 9

And pull…

Tutorial: Quilter's Knot 10

And pull, all the way to the end of the thread. When you reach the end, give a good sharp tug to tighten the knot.

Tutorial: Quilter's Knot Final

And, voila! A tidy little knot will be left there in your hand and you can begin hand sewing with ease.

Hand-dyed threads

Mal | Resources,Roundup | Saturday, April 4th, 2009

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I recently ordered some hand-dyed threads from SharonB, who was de-stashing. They arrived all the way from Australia with a hand-written note.

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Sharon is so thoughtful and appropriate. I thought it was so sweet of her to remember (and mention) my band-sampler project. I hope I grow up to be like Sharon someday.

The vibrancy of the thread’s colors nearly took my breath away and I can’t wait to find just the right project for them. In the meantime, here are some links about hand-dyed threads.

Do you stitch with hand-dyed threads? Are you intimidated by them? (I am, a little.) Do you dye your own? Did you even know such a thing existed?!

Intermittent Inspiration: Memory Projects

Mal | Art Therapy,Intermittent Inspiration,Media,Sewing | Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Memory quilts 

The nature of textile art lends itself well to the process of grief and bereavement.

You’ve probably heard of the AIDS quilt, where loved ones create quilt blocks in memory of people who have passed away from the disease. When I was in grad school, I was lucky enough to be able to see some of the traveling panels in person. It’s a lovely (and now humongous) project.

Loved ones leave behind many items, but fabrics and textiles are easily repurposed. Sherri Lynn Wood calls them Passage Quilts.

But, cloth homages to our loved ones are not limited only to quilting. Allison Ann Aller of Allie’s in Stitches talks about losing her brother in a tragic accident many years ago. She embroidered her brother’s name subtly onto the beach in a lovely landscape she was making. I love how she described her process (quoted below), and I encourage you to click the link to view the gorgeous images.

This quilt is about many things for me….the place I love best in the natural world, the cottage itself that houses so much of my family’s history, my desire to push the envelope of what my crazy quilting can be…..but it is also about my brother, Freddie. . .

And the waves still lap the shore there, the sun still lights up the water and the woods, and we still find great joy on that porch, where such horrible news was delivered in July of 1958….that’s part of the incredible blessing of a place like Michillinda. It absorbs all the drama of our little lives, it’s unchanging beauty and rhythms give us a sense of perspective, and we have a polestar to refer to when all else is in flux….

So I had to write Freddie’s name in the sand on the beach….

I can’t tell you how wonderful it has felt for me to do this. Now the quilt is saying what it is meant to say in its entirety.

Have you seen, made, or received a memory quilt? Would you consider making one, or do you disagree with the idea of them? Please tell us about it.

Art in unlikely places

Mal | Art Therapy,Links to Others,Resources | Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Elevator Door Fix

When a glass panel on the subway’s elevator was smashed a few weeks ago, a design-minded repairman saw potential in his temporary fix. His confused glue-face greeted us every morning for about 2 weeks. I ended up wondering a lot, as I arrived at work, about why the face was confused? Why not a smiley face, or no face at all?

I love to find art in unlikely places. I know of several movements to encourage beauty where you wouldn’t expect it.

Do you know of others? Please share!

Mini Hexagon FAQ

Mal | Handmade,Media,Quilting,Resources,Sewing,Works in Progress | Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

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Nothing on my list of projects seems to interest people more than the miniature hexagons. Lots of questions have resulted from my posts about this strange, antiquated process. Between blog comments, scuttle over on flickr, and personal emails, there are a lot of good questions going around.

Today I’ll answer some of those questions and hope to help those of you who may be considering this undertaking. Don’t forget, I posted a bunch of tutorials on a previous entry and they are a good place to start.

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Several people, including Ralph RSC, have asked:

whats the scale? real size of the cells?

As you can see above, the hexes are just a hair larger in diameter than a US penny coin. I used this awesome graph-paper-generating website to create my paper hexes.

Scroll down a bit to find the hexagon graph. I set mine for .5″ hexes and a .5″ border. If you can’t get the generator to work, I’ve uploaded the resultant page so that you can download it yourself:  Half-inch Hexagon PDF

Also, please note that I am not in a contest to create the smallest mini-hexagons known to man. I just picked a size that “felt right” to me and will look nice in its completed project (someday!). That said, if you want to see some other really mini hexagons, check out Christine’s work here and here (website plays music). Fiesta’s seem to be about the same size as mine. Mini-Mum is into it, too. (Click here to see the tiniest hexagons yet!) And who could forget duniris’s unbelievably amazing hexagon pincushion?

I’m sorry. I think the mini-hexes thing is an illness. Unfortunately, it is contagious!

Leslie commented that:

 Hey! I have just about all of those same prints. That’s *way* cool.

Well, shoot! That is cool, and a little creepy, since most of these fabrics were gifted to me as scrap-bags and cast-offs from 3 different friends and family members. I’ve been combing through those bags for the smallest pieces. I’ve finally found the scrap size that I can throw away — anything too small to be a penny hex.

Melissa asked:

The one thing I’m confused about: do you pull out the papers before you stitch the hexes together or after you’ve basted the hexes? What I mean is, do you need enough paper pieces for an entire project at once or can you just reuse the same 10 or so over and over again for the same project?

You can absolutely re-use the paper hexagons and many quilters do. I haven’t, yet, because I am still unclear about the layout of my hexies and you remove the papers once you start stitching them together. 

Hexagons: Removing Papers

The trick is to only remove the papers from the hexagons that are attached on all sides. That is, as long as you don’t intend to sew the hex to any other hex, or all 6 of the sides are stitched to others, you can remove both the paper template and the temporary basting. (I’ve seen that some people don’t remove the basting, either. I probably will.)

Lots of people use heavier weight papers — cereal boxes, cardstock, even plastic templates — to form their shapes. In fact, one of my favorite hexagon stories to date comes from Sue of mousenotebook. She writes about her Great Work, which included:

Hundreds of hexagons carefully cut from birthday cards, magazines, old drawing paper, the scripts of my ex-husband’s novel and my Mum’s book of prayers. . . The last fifteen years of my life are bound up in the making of that quilt, and the history of my family is in the fabric.

I used regular copy paper for my hexes. It’s worked fine, but if I were to do it over again, I would use a heavier paper — even just a finer quality of copy paper. I think it’d keep the hexes more uniform and less likely to warp (as my upper-right hex did in the first photo above — need to go fix that one).

Happy to answer any more questions, if you think of them! In the near future, I’ll post photos of my process, including step-by-step on my basting process, and images from other crafters at various stages of their projects.

Intermittent Inspiration: French Knots

Mal | Intermittent Inspiration,Stitching | Saturday, March 28th, 2009

Inspiration: French Knots

I finished the french knot section on my band sampler, but have been collecting pictures of french knots for a few weeks.

Some people use french knots as outline, as “fill stitch” or as a physical construct (i.e. tiny eyeballs or cherries on trees, which look just like french knots). Some are packed together tightly, like a carpet. Others are sprinkled sparsely to good effect. There are french knot hairdos, french knot flowers, french knot bacteria… I mean, really. There are lots of french knots out there. Don’t be scared.

Click the image for more details on the artists of these wonderful creations.

Band Sampler: French Knot

Mal | Band Sampler,Media,Resources,Sewing,Stitching,Tutorials | Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Band Sampler: French Knot

I completed the French Knot portion of my band sampler last week.

 

 

 

 One of the things I do with my clients a lot is give them a little distance from their artwork. I hold up a painting far from their face, which provides a new perspective and sometimes facilitates insight.

Band Sampler: French Knot (closeup)

Looking at these photos of the section (a form of distance) lends itself to some funny realizations. For instance, I see how some of my confusion and consternation from last week may have seeped into the work.

I had originally intended to do some sort of starburst or circular pattern with the knots, but this image kept coming back to me. Almost like molecules or birds rushing toward some intended end but running into an invisible barrier. Ideas and thoughts and scenarios getting backed up — stopped up and hung up — to impede any progress at all. People rushing for an exit, in danger of being trampled. Something that seriously needs to get unstuck.

If you’re interested in trying your hand at french knot, here are some tutorials:

Intermittent Inspiration: Quilts with Circles

Mal | Intermittent Inspiration,Quilting,Resources | Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Inspiration: Quilts with Circles

The thing that appeals to me about quilts with circles is that the process of quilting lends itself so well to straight lines, angles, squares, triangles and the like. Circles, for all of their difficulties, are a welcome sight amidst all of those straight stitching lines. We impose their soft, curved sweetness onto all of that gridded order and it makes me feel both complicated and simple. I sort of love that.

(Click the image to learn more about the artists of these beautiful quilts.)

Guest Post: Creativity and Repair

Mal | Guest Posts,Universal | Thursday, March 19th, 2009

This is the first in a series of guest posts written by fellow bloggers. I’m so pleased to introduce this series by featuring Emma, whose blog furrybees includes thoughtful, well-written posts about her experiments with embroidery, crochet, clay, poetry, and other creative media. If you’d like to write a guest entry about your creative process, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

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Thanks to Mal* for giving me this opportunity to reflect on meaning and creativity.  Her blog is a welcome dose of thoughtful reflection on the creative process.

I credit creativity with great powers of restoration.  (I also sometimes credit it with great powers of anxiety-making, but that’s another story.)  This story is about the intimate connection between identity and creativity and how one lost, academically-minded woman found her way slowly back to herself, or one part of her self, through crochet, embroidery and the vagaries of an old Rolls sewing machine she inherited from her grandmother.  As with most stories, there are many ways of telling it and many ways of making sense of it.  Here is one.

I began a PhD in feminist theory and applied ethics in February of 2001.  “What’s that!?”, I hear you ask.  Well, I thought it would be a good idea to try and write a long treatise on the different ways women can feel both powerful and powerless (for don’t we, at some point, feel both as we go about our days?) and how that affects the way we see others, how we treat them, and, more importantly, how we should respond to them. 

I felt a tentative enthusiasm for my new life at first, and had a thinly sketched idea of what kind of a person I thought I should be as an academic.  I would be brilliant (making immediate and spontaneously fabulous connections between ideas), a quick reader of complex academic writing, and an inspired and prolific writer.  I imagined that I would find joy in books and ideas, relish in the mystery and detective work of research, and flourish in the quiet solitude of the contemplative academic life.  And, in many ways, I did.  Or, I tried hard to, at least.  However, just as virtues can swing to vices, my vision of who, and how, I was supposed to be began to distort. 

Over time, I wondered if I would drown in the books and ideas, if the mystery of my research would ever resolve itself, and if the isolation I felt – alone in my cubicle and alone in my academic field – would ever abate into a quiet, enjoyable solitude.  Needless to say, I felt adrift in this new life and my sense of self — my sense of knowing with any certainty who I was and what I was capable of — began to erode.

However, sometimes the universe intervenes and saves you from yourself. 

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Two things happened almost simultaneously.  Firstly, after one of our many chats full of existential angst, a good friend and I decided we needed to pursue activities that would keep us “in the moment” and give our minds a break from the constant self-analysis that could leave us tied in complex knots.  So, she began to knit and I, spontaneously, bought and began a small cross-stitch bookmark that came in kit form from the local supermarket (of all places) — something I’d never previously contemplated and probably associated it unfairly, and in a dreadfully ageist way, with “granny” and her projects for idle entertainment.  I finished it quickly and was surprised by the strange, glowing satisfaction that followed.

Shortly thereafter, another close friend announced she was pregnant (the first to start the inexorable tide of pregnant friends that were to gradually follow).  In imagining which gift would be appropriate for her and her new one, I remembered how she’d laboured over a crocheted baby’s blanket for another friend’s first baby.  I had watched as, with each stitch, she hoped her friend would cherish this blanket and see it as the lovingly created heirloom that it was intended to be.  I knew I wanted to give the same to her. 

Except for one small matter – I didn’t know how to crochet.

Enter Google and exit, at least for a small part of every day, my PhD project.  Before long, my isolated cubicle was filled with the vibrant energy of a new research project that tugged at my attention and constantly tempted me away from more scholarly pursuits.  Within a short time I had taught myself to crochet and after much thought given to style (interesting but not too “interesting”), colours (no pastels!) and textures (definitely soft and snugly) I made a small white woollen baby’s blanket, in a repeated shell pattern, with a navy blue shell border.

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Those humble beginnings created a kind of urgency in me to keep making things, as well as an insatiable desire to find out about different textile-related arts and crafts.  I quickly picked up embroidery and then sewing things of my own design on an ancient, one-stitch sewing machine gifted to me by my mother’s mother before she died.  With each new skill revealed, with each thrifted piece of fabric transformed, and with each project worked I felt excitement, satisfaction, and accomplishment.  And I felt a kind of existential relief.

It’s only recently, with time and distance (figurative and literal – I moved from Australia to Canada in 2007) that I have been able to reflect on these happenings and how they served to create the woman I am today.  My academic life, then, was a world where I felt lost – adrift in a sea of ideas and competing claims to the “truth” – and where I felt powerless, alone and strangely unskilled at being able to find The Answer to my research questions.  To make matters worse, the academic identity I had tried to fashion to help me with this task was uncomfortable, difficult and ill-fitted to me.  In hindsight, it is no surprise that the methodical learning, grasping and practising of different creative techniques would help to mend the frayed edges of self left by the uncertainties and difficulties of my scholarly life. 

Seeking solace in creativity taught me new lessons about my self.  The gentle, achievable goal of taking stitches, one at a time, of learning new skills, one step at a time, and the act of holding and working with the tactile pleasures of fabric, thread, buttons and beads enabled me to witness a different Emma emerge – someone who was competent, creative, inspired and capable of beginning and finishing projects both big and small.  It is no wonder that I often struggled at that time to choose between the mesmerising meditation of crochet and the tumult of working with complex feminist ethical theory. 

So, I credit my creative life with both restoring a sense of my self to me and with providing the space to begin to imagine a new sense of who I am and who I might become.  Some days as I dream up new ideas in my workspace, or sew up a new creation for another new being fresh to our world, I am aware that there is a dual process of creation going on: one with thread and needle, fabric and hoop; and one with me and my ever evolving sense of my self.

Emma Woodley aspires to be a creator of beautiful, meaningful, useful things.  She is currently trying on the identity of “textile artist” for size. You can follow her adventures in being Creative and Courageous (New Year’s resolutions that delight her on some days and haunt her on others) on her blog furrybees.

Intermittent Inspiration: Back Stitch

Mal | Intermittent Inspiration,Resources,Stitching | Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Inspiration: Back Stitch

I posted the back stitch section of my band sampler (with links to tutorials) a couple of weeks ago. Since then, I’ve collected some happy examples of back stitch created by other people to show you. (Click on the image above to learn more about the artists.)

Back stitch is a very simple outline stitch, and you can see from these examples that it is one of the easiest (and most popular) ways to convert a simple line drawing to cloth. Because of that, you’ll see back stitch used by lots of illustrators as it is the nearest thing to drawing with a pen.

What about you? Have you ever used simple stitches to convert a drawing to embroidery?

Roundup: Good News Edition

Mal | Roundup | Saturday, March 14th, 2009

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Many thanks to Sue at mousenotebook who posted about a very inviting giveaway a few weeks ago. I didn’t win the first prize (300+ hexagons already basted to paper backing!) but Sue very generously expanded the giveaway and I won the privilege of choosing something from her shop

Well, it was easy enough for me to choose the green market bag, as I’ve been trying to stock up on cloth shopping bags yet find them a bit unwieldy in practice. The little matching case for this works out perfectly! It arrived yesterday. Thanks, Sue!

There’s other good news in our little community this week, too. Be sure to swing by and congratulate:

What about you? Did you have good news this week or do you know of someone who did?

Pushing toward hexagons

Mal | Quilting,Resources,Sewing,Tutorials,Works in Progress | Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Pink hexagons

Yup. I’ve started on a hexagon project of my own.

When I posted inspirational mages of hexagon quilts last week, Christine asked:

Hi, I’m planning to do a part-hexagon quilt soon. I was hoping to be able to do it by machine, but if it needs to be by hand, so be it. In your searching, did you come across any instructions/tips and tricks for hexagon quilts?

I’ve had a few other emails about it, so I thought I’d post some of the great tutorials I’ve found to get me going.

While I’m at it, here is one more mosaic of inspirational hexagon projects I’ve found since my original posting. Click through for more info on the artists.

More hexagon inspiration

Intermittent Inspiration: Running Stitch

Mal | Intermittent Inspiration,Resources,Stitching | Sunday, March 8th, 2009

My creation

Since I completed the running stitch section on my band sampler, I have been tuned into examples of running stitch all over the place. If you’re wondering how this stitch can be put into practice, there are some wonderful examples above. Click the image to learn more about the artists who made these wonderful creations.

I’ve especially been inspired by the way this stitch can become so textural. I always considered it an outline stitch, but when used as a texture, it’s really interesting. Also, you can see running stitch on lots of applique and 3d projects, too, which is something to consider next time you feel layer-y or sculptural.

Band Sampler: Panel 1 Complete

Mal | Band Sampler,Media,Resources,Sewing,Stitching | Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Band Sampler: Panel 1 Complete

With the completion of the counted cross stitch Obama, the first panel of my band sampler is finished. Again, I hid my full name in the header for privacy’s sake.

I’ve had some questions about band samplers in general, so here’s a bit more info:

When I caught the embroidery bug late last year, I decided that I wanted to move beyond my early education of cross stitch, back stitch, and french knots. I found tutorials and stitch dictionaries online and became excited at the prospect of learning traditional embroidery stitches.

I began to read up and found that old classic samplers (you know the ones — an alphabet, a bible quotation, a cross-stitched house with trees) once functioned as part of the education of young girls and women — to teach stitches. I figured that if I could learn about the standard form of traditional samplers, I could design my own mod sampler (like this one, by Mary Corbet) with the same purpose of learning.

In my reading and research, I came across SharonB and Annie’s band sampler projects. A band sampler (a long strip of fabric) was sometimes created by women who were learning stitches. It could be rolled up and tucked into a sewing box, where it would serve as a future reference. SharonB and Annie both include little biographical and current-events snippets in their samplers, and this thrilled me, given my long history of journaling (both written and visual).

So, that’s how I got into the band sampler and, for me and my style of working and exploring things, it seems pretty perfect. It suits my rhythm of exploration and it satisfies my desire to document change and progress. All in all, I am really enjoying it.

Especially now that I am done with that darn cross stitch.

Intermittent Inspiration: Hexagon Quilts

The march toward more handwork and less machinework continues. While collecting patchwork inspiration a few days ago, I was drawn (and who wouldn’t be!?) to this little pincushion made by duniris.

Duniris's hexagon pincushion

It took my breath away and I have since stared at it for what seems like hours.

I have always enjoyed looking at hexagon patchwork, but never got too far beyond lamely wondering how it was done. Well, it turns out that the only good way is by hand — cutting, piecing, and stitching them together with needle and thread.

Well, then there was no stopping me. Look at all the delicious hexagon inspiration to be had.

Intermittent Inspiration: Handpieced Hexagons

What about you? Have you ever done hexagons or other hand quilting?

Links: Creative Therapy

Mal | Art Journal,Art Therapy,Links to Others,Paper,Resources | Saturday, February 28th, 2009

creativetherapy

I have been following a lovely little website called Creative Therapy which celebrates the art of visual journals. The site serves as a community for creative/visual journalers, and its administrator, Karen Grunberg, puts forth “catalysts” (journaling prompts, basically, but with an awesomer name) to which the CT team responds. She then invites readers to respond as well, and to post links to their creations.

There are lots of things that I like about this website, including:

  • Each contributor is invited to write about their project and their process, which can be really illuminating. This is something I often do with my art therapy clients, as it can sometimes facilitate a better connection between our rational and emotional selves. On the practical side, you can learn new techniques from these artists’ blurbs. On the emotional side, you can really get a feel for the way that creating these responses has touched people. As you know, the emotional side of art-making is something that interests me very, very much.
  • Karen tries to eliminate the all-too-common air of competition which can seep into these kinds of community ventures. She seems to truly celebrate creativity and personal expression and to genuinely encourage it in others.
  • There is a spotlighted artist for each catalyst, and it’s often someone I’ve never heard of (though some famous faces have made appearances).
  • The site has sponsors who sometimes do giveaways. Not that any of us need extra stash, but… I do think it speaks to how involved and proactive Karen (and maybe her team?) has been.

The responses seem to be largely grounded in the world of scrapbooking, altered books, and other popular paper-based arts, but are not exclusively so. For instance, a recent response to Catalyst 50: What is something that you turn to, to lift you up out of a bad mood? was a crochet project made by Debee Campos. Debee graciously gave me permission to post her artwork and words here, because I feel they really speak to some of my own explorations about the emotional impact of various art media. In this instance, Debee writes about the experience of learning and practicing crochet.

I’ve recently taken up the art of crochet. And just in the nick of time. Wedding planning. House hunting. Future dreaming. All have left me a little chaotic. You would think it’s crazy of me to take up crocheting during this crazy phase of my life. But in fact it has helped silence my thoughts. During these times of learning and practicing the rhythm of the process, I have found my thoughts are all hushed. My time has been well spent. Thinking pondering and praying. There are times when I just listen. And most of the time I’m not such a great listener. It has also helped my patience level :) But the combination of the two has helped my outlook on all the things I’m juggling. I find this time to be the best at bringing peace to my heart. All the while I am bursting with pride taking up a lost art in my family and creatively expressing myself in another form. This is for sure something I hope to continue throughout my life.

 

I laid a drawing I drew years ago of one of my hands over the top of my blanket that is still a work in progress. I felt like it fit the picture perfectly. As drawing was once my quiet time long before scrapbooking and crochet came into my life.

How about you? Have you ever used journal prompts or participated in some kind of creative community? Do you keep a visual journal? Why or why not?

Tutorial Roundup: Non-quilt Patchwork

Mal | Quilting,Sewing,Tutorials | Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

 Patchwork, but not quilts

This week I’ve also enjoyed seeing lots of projects made from patched-together fabrics which weren’t necessarily for quilts. I guess once you realize that patchwork can be used anywhere that plain fabric can, there’s no stopping you!

Below, I’ve linked to some tutorial sites if you’d like directions on how to make non-quilt patchwork projects.

 Have you made a non-quilt patchwork project? Please share!

Intermittent Inspiration: Quilts with Orange

Mal | Intermittent Inspiration | Friday, February 20th, 2009

Intermittent Inspiration: Quilts with Orange

Continuing inspiration from flickr, I noticed I was really being drawn to the color orange this week. Orange is a funny color — it is thought to be bold (but is not necessarily so), is associated with sunshine (though it is really more the color of fire), and is generally associated with cheeriness (with a few notable exceptions).

I agree with Sarah that in craft, there seem to be two camps: orange believers and non-believers. Those who have embraced orange in their lives really inspire me. It’s not an easy thing to do in our culture.

Rough draft quilt

I definitely had fun playing with orange recently, and can’t wait for next week to show you photos of my latest. 

Tell us: Are you a member of team orange?

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