Friday, April 15, 2016

Week in Review 2016 - 04/15

Tips, Thoughts and Techniques:

Get comfortable! Those two words could be my mantra. I was definitely thinking comfort as I selected my outfit this morning. Having achieved so many of the right of passage milestones, with Medicare just two years in my future, I have zero qualms about donning elastic waist pants, shoes that don't pinch or give me vertigo, and layers of sweaters, sweatshirts and down vests for warmth. I still make an effort to choose items that are color coordinated. I even sneak in bright colors, especially on gloomy days. However, my primary mission is comfort. When I am comfortable, I can face the day's challenges.
If you haven't played with the Photo Booth
app on your iPhone or iPad you may want
to give it a whirl. It allows you to take
a photo (in my case a selfie) in a variety
of modes. This one is Thermal Camera. 

It is the same way I approach working on my art. There are many ways I get comfortable in my studio. It is one of the reasons I practice free motion quilting. Even before I sit down to free motion quilt, I will first doodle the design on paper. Why? Because that invariably teaches me how to navigate through the tricky transitions and direction changes so that I when I stitch the design I don't hesitate. 

My studio is set up for comfort, too. The chairs at my two sewing machines are set at just the right height. I have one of the cushy gel mats I can move around the room, so that if I am cutting, ironing or doing surface design work for a significant amount of standing time, I don't have an uncomfortable surface to stand on. 

For me, organization is key to staying comfortable. I tend to be hyper-organized. My threads are organized by type, color and value. The same goes for my paints and fabrics. I have all my Bernina's feet at the front of the cabinet drawer in line by number, so that I can easily access and exchange feet without ever getting up. 

Why get comfortable? It is simple. When I am comfortable I can focus on both the fun of creativity and inevitable problem solving. It is easier to tackle the "big" issues when the buzzing mosquito of discomfort isn't distracting me.

This is my first week back after traveling and most of it was spent catching up with everything non-studio related. I did manage to spend a little time in the studio. I also began taking Art on the iPad on Monday. A little work here and there means I have a few things to share:

1)  Finish Reflection #2  - Create and attach the label either when needed or when I have a second label to print at the same time. - Still on hold.

2) Work on Sunrise Abstraction - Done!
Feeling Groovy is an original free motion
quilting motif that I developed during a
doodling session.

I don't have pictorial proof, but I did begin machine quilting Sunrise Abstraction. I did an area that I felt couldn't be done via continuous line stitching to achieve the look I was after. This means I have approximately 40 sets of threads to bury. I actually don't mind doing this. However, work with long dangling threads distracts from the actual quilting. I'll share what I did this week, next week after the threads are buried in the quilt.

3) Free motion quilting practice - Done!

I had fun spending an hour or so doodling. Nothing I tried looked right. Then I stumbled on this particular design, which is an amalgam on several of Tracy's (Whirls 'n Swirls) patterns with a frilly addition of my own. I've named the design, Feeling Groovy. I'm not sure when I would use it, but it does fill a space nicely.

A quick scribble done with my finger
on the iPad using the app Crayon. My
goal was simply to learn how the app
functioned, including how to save an
image for future use and sharing.
4) Do some surface design work - Done!

I am counting my work in Art on the iPad as my surface design work. Step one has been learning how to make my way around the iPad and online class interface. I did download one free app called Crayon. My scribble isn't much to look at now. I understand from more advanced students, that scribbles like mine are perfect for running through multiple apps and coming up with some surprising and stunning fabrics. 

5) Beware of when I find myself shutting down and find a way to stay open. - Done!

In fact this is what lead to my focus on comfort. It is so easy to shut down when facing having to potentially disappoint or reprimand someone. It can be so much easier to let things slide than to speak up. Sometimes it is necessary to be uncomfortable first in order to get to a point of comfort.

Now that I have nearly caught up from my travels I am looking forward to learning a few more art apps and studio work next week. One way to be sure I am comfortable with the work ahead, is to know what my plans are. Now you do too. :)

1)  Finish Reflection #2  - Create and attach the label either when needed or when I have a second label to print at the same time.

2) Work on Sunrise Abstraction

3) Free motion quilting practice

4) Do some surface design work

5) Beware of when I find myself shutting down and find a way to stay open

I am now linking up to two blogs on Fridays. The first is Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays and the second is Free Motion Mavericks.


  1. Comfort!! Oh yes. Since I've retired, that is one of my top priorities in various parts of my life. With respect to quilting, last week I finally did something about a problem I knew I had but had just put up with. My chair is not high enough when I'm quilting. So I went to an antique mall and bought an old piano stool that adjusts by spinning it. Perfect! It was already coated with layers of paint so I didn't feel bad about adding another coat. My husband painted it chartreuse for me this week to add a fun pop of color to my sewing room. Thanks for helping me see the connection between comfort and creativity/problem solving.

  2. You certainly got a lot accomplished this cool is your crayon drawing!?!? That'd be such fun to recreate....maybe using just threads. Given your comfort with FMQ......I bet you could!

  3. Welcome back, Gwyned! I agree.......being comfortable is critical to preparing to create. But then, it is on that edge, where you are exploring and considering, and you feel a little hesitation and stress, that the creativity happens. I think though that unless you have set up a comfortable workspace, you will be too stressed over other stuff, to be able to get to that creative moment. You are so lucky that you know how to create the right environment in your studio!
    Have fun!

  4. Delightful post! I'm so glad I popped in!