Sunday, March 28, 2010

Forgive Me...

It is Sunday, a good day to reflect and repent.
I confess.
I have committed the great sin of pride.

Okay, back up a bit. I spent Thursday and Friday on a trip to Victoria to visit my dear old friend Jean-Pierre. On the way south, I picked up a knitting machine that I found on Craigslist. Sin's tentacles extend in many directions, some of them circular. I used to have an identical knitting machine that I lugged around for 25 years, finally giving it to a thrift shop when I found no takers on, you guessed it, Craigslist. The months passed, but I had too many ideas for machine knit fabric still lurking in my brain, so I slid back to the temptations of another fabric tool/toy.

Once in Victoria, I dropped into Knotty By Nature, the fabulous fibre art supply store. I managed to resist the coy glances in my direction from the lusciously dyed silk roving, the bold solicitations of the dew-retted flax, but caved utterly and completely at the display of Habu.

I fell for the stainless steel and silk. (I have not been alone in this fall, see Penny Nickel's experience.)

Once home, pride reared its arrogant head. Forget that I hadn't used a knitting machine in years, forget that thread weight yarns are tricky at best - I was going to knit the Kushu Kushu scarf on my new machine.

Which I did.

Then I decided I didn't like the drape and unraveled it. (You know where this is going.) I rehung the scarf (it now being 9:30 at night with Lasqueti-level lighting) and proceeded to *#&%#!!! the whole thing up.

At quarter to 11 I admitted that I was beat and went to bed, where my unconscious processed my shame in a series of scolding dreams.

Today I will repent. A cone of sensible sportweight wool awaits.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Catching my Breath

I'm exhausted, as I always am this time of year. But I do have a couple of pretty pictures for you.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lasqueti Quilt Unveiled

Considering how fast news travels on this island, it was amazing that we managed to keep the surprise party for Pat Forbes a secret.

But it really was a surprise, coming a good five months after her actual birthday. She walked in to the arts centre under some duress, having been brought there against her wishes - she just wanted to be dropped off at her car, after attending a funeral at the south end.

Pat handled it all with grace, true to form. She mentioned that she felt uplifted after a sad beginning to the day. The people on this island are indeed some of the kindest and most caring you could ever hope to come across.

It was a sweet event. Lots of well-wishers, and the presentation of the quilt made in her honour.

Assessing the Final Product

When I was in art school, I always looked forward to critiques. These were a chance to show off my work, talk about my intention and receive feedback from my peers. Maybe that's why I enjoy blogging!

The rush to finish the quilt, and the ill-considered attempt to bind the piece with a beautiful but evil polyester brocade, left me with no time or energy for elegant photo-styling. I tried a little video (see previous post) because the quilt looked so beautiful in the sunny breeze.

Some ideas came immediately - how I would like to try a translucent quilt a la Yoshiko Jinzenji or Chunghie Lee. How much I had enjoyed the hand piecing and maybe a yo-yo quilt wasn't completely out of the question after all. The modular, symmetrical blocks lend themselves to more experimentation with back and front, hmmmn. How could I bring more spontaneity to the rigid format?

The gently moving quilt also offered a chance to reflect on the process of making it. I saw the block I began with - the single one bordered in purple. I had no plan for layout when I began, preferring to work with the question "What does it Need?". (This is the process I use for the Buddhist patchwork quilts, simply starting with two pieces at random and building from that nucleus, always asking "What does it Need? A balance in colour, texture, movement, line? What feels right?")

The inset blocks I used to square up the edge were fiddly, and not called for in the design I used as a basis for my own. I think they were an improvement as far as allowing a continuous border so the piece would drape better, and ensuring the durability of the quilt.

In the Lynda Barry book "What It Is" she advises not looking at a finished piece for at least a week, so as to avoid the conscious ego/left brain chatter of "Is it good?" or "Does it suck?". Sometimes I try to circumvent this waiting period by hanging a piece and walking away, then trying to catch a glimpse of it out of the corner of my eye. Just trying to get a fresh view or bit of distance. Sometimes I come across some of my work out there in the world and am surprised that I made it. Often I think it's much better than I remember feeling about it at the time.

What strategies do you use to assess your work?

The Quilt is Finished...

... and peace returns to the island.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Polyester is the Devil's Cloth

Yes, Satan sure knew what he was doing when he made polyester. The quilt was going so peacefully and beautifully until I went to put on the binding. I had some shiny silky fabric in just the right colour, and it would have made a suitable binding, so I ignored my deep loathing of petroleum-based fabric and gave it a go.

Well, you know what happened. The damn stuff slid all over the place, puckered, twisted, slithered and frayed. I got the ends done and realized it was a disaster, had to pick the stuff out and begin again with a boring but easy to handle cotton.

Not only was the air blue with my very unladylike curses, I missed a bicycle maintenance workshop I really wanted to go to, and a screening of Julie and Julia at the Arts Centre.


Friday, March 05, 2010

Learning From the Dog

My attention these days is being consumed by trying to finish the hexagon quilt and keeping Gracie out of trouble.

I think Gracie is trying to tell me that I have my priorities all wrong.