Well we bought a house! It is not a farm, so I’m tucking away that dream, for the moment. But it’s wonderful. It’s old. I feel so at home. The view. I don’t have my own land but open land is all around me. I’ve realized over the years that I have a constant, almost subconscious feeling of unease when I look out my window and can’t see out into the distance. Conversely, now that I can look out across the valley to where field meets mountain and mountain meets the sky, I feel peaceful.The studio. It needs some plaster work first, but the old summer kitchen, upstairs and down, will be for me and my business. More peace. And for now, there is a downstairs office where I can set up all my things. And the living spaces… I am so happy. It is cozy and comfortable and there’s enough room for all of us to spread out. It’s hard for 6 introverts to live together in a modern house with an open floor plan. We need a closed floor plan. Separate spaces where we can retreat and be ourselves, not feel assaulted by whatever noise the others are making, but still with gathering places where we can come together. It’s perfect.
And yet, there is no where it really belongs.
I keep my sewing machine in the dining room:
Fabric ready to piece in the dining room:
New fabric on the kitchen counter:
Second hand fabric in the office:
Quilt frame in the play room:
taking pics of blocks upstairs in my son’s room:
Fabric is taking over my house, people. And this is not even showing my basement fabric storage area. I need to get all this quilty-ness contained, and short of taking over the master bedroom (which I have not yet brought up with the Husband… ) I think my best option is to scoop it all into this officey-kind of room that we have at the front of the house. We’ve tried using that room for a couple of different things and it’s just weird, no one ever goes in there except when I remind my son to go practice the piano. So 20 minutes a day, tops. I’ve been craving a space of my own; one that I can decorate with pretty fabric stacks and bowls of perle cotton, a little place where I can go to get lost…The only problem is that the room does not have a door, and it is open to pretty much the rest of the house. We could put up a big curtain, but a big new curtain is going to be very attractive to little people, and certainly won’t keep the smallest one from going in there and wreaking havoc as she tends to do. What to do?
I have a new tool-
My entry-level Singer, 15 years old, finally died on me a few weeks before Quilt Market. The same day, I found out that my newest fabric line wouldn’t be ready to show at this Market. So, kind of a crummy day. After being all sad and sentimental about the machine for about 12 hours (hubs gifted it to me when we were newlyweds), I realized it was rather fortuitous that my fabric wouldn’t be showing- now it made sense to skip Quilt Market and use the money we had set aside to buy a better quality machine instead. I was bummed to miss Quilt Market, especially since it was in Portland OR, but without any fabric to show, it seemed like a pretty easy choice to trade the nebulous benefits of Market- attending lectures, spotting trends, sourcing notions.. for the very tangible benefit of being able to sew.
I got a Husqvarna Viking Mega Quilter… it’s a discontinued model which figures because it was the one I wanted- I just want a machine that can sew nice, straight seams really well and really fast. I did not want a touch screen or a million different embroidery stitches or a laser level- I just want a machine that sews. I’m like my grandma when it comes to technology; I don’t want to learn how to use something new, I just want to turn it on and have it work. I’m making my old-lady crone face now.
So, it is discontinued, but my local quilt store still had one in stock, so double-bonus. I got the machine I wanted at a nice price, they got it out of their inventory just in time to go to Quilt Market and buy some new stuff for the shop!
It really is a workhorse. 1600 stitches per minute! It’s heavy and sturdy. My productivity is through the roof. Other than that I don’t feel compelled to gush about the machine or to review every feature so I’m not gonna fake it- I am glad I have it; I needed it more than I knew, and that is that 🙂
Here’s the first thing I made with it:
It’s all fabric from my stash, and the piecing went insanely fast. I really did fall in love with the machine a bit. I’m trying to decide if the quilt needs a big black border or not. What do you think?
Yay! We finally put up my design wall a few days ago and I am so pleased with it. It’s a pretty low-tech solution- just two sheets of fiberboard wrapped with black batting and attached to the wall. But it looks nicely finished and it’s much bigger than any other design wall I’ve been lucky enough to own and I am just thrilled to have it. As intended, I immediately put up my little embroidery pieces and got to work designing a set of patchwork pillows out of them.
I have a great knack for making things complicated (husband snickers in the background) which has resulted in some very intricate projects that I’m really proud of, but has also led to a whole slew of things that don’t get finished for months, years, decades…
So true to form, my first sketches for these pillows included several different pieced blocks, mini appliqued orange peel blocks, 1 inch mosaic squares, and the like. I even started prepping the shapes for the applique.
Then I had to step back and ask myself if the embroidery really needed all that intricate accompaniment, and when I thought about it, it did not. I decided it would look great and be done in a day if I just did a little strip-piecing of some favorite fabrics.
I figured out the length of strip I would need, put two pins that distance apart on the ironing board, and started cutting strips free- form with scissors, not deliberately cutting them “wonky” but not worrying about getting them ruler-straight, either. Stuck up on the design wall in pretty much the order I cut them, I was happy with them and got right to sewing!
I love “The Pile” that develops while I’m working on this kind of project. The patterns and colors seem to vibrate when they’re surrounded by so much variety. Flip it over, rummage through it, and I’m bound to discover some combinations that I wouldn’t have thought of if I used a more disciplined system of cutting. I don’t even mind folding it all back up again when I’m done, because it’s just another chance to enjoy all my beautiful treasures.
But we’ll get to that some other day.
Ahh my lovely desk. We found it in the house of a grad student who moved back home and left all his things up for grabs, my sweet husband refinished it for me so long ago that it really could stand to be touched up again. We put the legs on it tonight and set it into place and the space immediately feels like home. There are still about 1,000 boxes, 999 of which are marked “fabric,” that can’t be unpacked until I find just the right shelves, but it’s a start. An inspiring one!
Today is Tuesday. We move on Thursday. And still I can’t bring myself to pack this last shelf of books. I just might get a tiny break and need some entertainment- or maybe I’ll think of something I need to look up- or… you just never know.
This one especially, needs to stay beside me. I am so excited to move into my new studio! After a couple of years of sharing “studio space” with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it will be heaven on earth just to spread out. It’s a big open room so I’ll definitely be bustin’ out the graph paper and the colored pencils for a little design session. I am by nature a planner, so nothing will will make me feel more at home in my new space than measuring it, drawing it to scale, and playing with little paper cutouts of furniture and work triangles. I see a big IKEA run in my near future. And maybe the antiques mall, too. I can’t wait!!!