Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Keeping Busy

This is not a creative time of year for me. The days are dark and often gloomy, the trees are bare, and everything feels gray. I can't seem to get in the art mode, but I want to be in the studio. So what better time to clean the place up? I wish the horizontal surfaces weren't such magnets for stuff: magazines, fabric scraps, paperwork, stalled projects, yadda yadda. If I'm not diligent in putting that stuff away my work surface contracts into about 2 square feet. So I spent a day or so putting things away and dealing with paperwork. And I have several pieces that need the finishing touches - sleeves, labels, bags, slats. Boring work, but I can listen to audio books and the time passes quickly.

In the past I've made labels using t-shirt transfer paper. I've never been very successful with that stuff, and I think the papers have gotten old, because I was even less successful this time. I couldn't get a good transfer no matter how many times I tried. I had the idea to get them printed at Spoonflower, and created a jpg of the label with my name and address information on it, and uploaded it. I'm getting a yard of labels, which I think works out to more than 50. That should last for a long while. The title of the piece and its measurements will have to be added to each piece, and I could either write it out by hand or stitch it by machine using the built-in alphabet. Or I could even freehand write it out.

On one of my email lists there has been a thread about rejections. I've hit the trifecta this season with 3 (or maybe 4, is that a quadfecta?) rejections, all in a row. I'm not sure of that last one because I'm not 100% sure I even entered. It wasn't a show, so I didn't have to put it in the schedule, and I don't have a copy of the entry form. I intended to enter, but maybe I didn't carry through. I was never notified either way, and since I'm not on the list of people who did get in, obviously I didn't. Sheesh, I hate this CRS (can't remember s*^%).

Winter time is knitting season for me, and I searched for a sweater pattern that had more interest than a plain stockinette stitch. I found one with an intricate cabling pattern and I really liked it. Knitted up a test swatch and tried to follow the pattern. Yikes - too complicated. I would never be able to get it right and would constantly be tearing out rows. So I've found another pattern that's not quite so complicated (I hope). Ordered more cotton yarn from DharmaTrading and dyed it the other night. For this sweater, I thought the yarn should be all one color and so I used three skeins and immersion dyed them. I know why variegated colors are so popular - they're so easy to do. Even coloration is very difficult, and I have the results to prove it. You have to stir the yarn in the dye bath to distribute the color, but the more you stir the more likely the yarn is to tangle. So I have different shades of the golden brown I tried to get. The skeins have been hanging on the line for 36 hours now and they're still not dry. Then I will have the task of winding them into balls, which will have the added difficulty of keeping the yarn away from Rosie, the kitten, who thinks everything is a toy. Once I knit the sweater, if the variation in color is too obvious or doesn't look good, I can always over dye.

But the news is not all gloomy - yesterday I shipped High Noon off to its new owners in California. They are celebrating an anniversary and decided to treat themselves to the purchase of my quilt. I think that is an excellent way to celebrate an anniversary.

High Noon ©2005

We will be celebrating our Thanksgiving on Saturday again this year, since my daughter goes to her in-laws on the official T-day. It always feels weird to be cooking the turkey dinner when everybody else is still recovering from their celebration, or out shopping. So, whenever you celebrate Thanksgiving, have a great day!

One last thing. John Hopper, author of The Textile Blog, wrote a very complimentary article about my work last month. He writes about the entire gamut of textiles - quilts, tapestries, knitting, carpets, embroidery, and more. There are some very interesting articles on his blog (in addition to the one about me, of course).


Gerrie said...

Your studio story rings true. I have several horizontal areas with designated purposes, but they are always covered with extraneous stuff. I also like your spoonflower label idea.

John Hopper contacted me about using some of my images - not sure he will ever write about my work, but it was nice to have him ask.

John hopper said...

Hi Gerrie. I have not forgotten you!

I have a fairly large number of subjects that I cover on The Textile Blog. I also have a strict rota that goes: printed/woven, carpet & rug, tapestry, knit, quilting, embroidery, lace, basketry, general design. I only want to cover roughly one quilt artist a week so as not to push out any of the other subjects.

Tricia Coulson is next Fridays subject, with Marion Coleman the week or so after that. It will then be the turn of Gerrie Congdon. I know that will take us well into December, but I am getting through my very long list of talented textile artists which will take me well into next year. However, if anyone else thinks that I might have forgotten them, I truly haven't and I hope they can be patient.

Eddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
suewalen said...

What a wonderful article on you, Cathy! And boy, your comments about the gray season really rang true. I'm having a hard time connecting to my muse too. I just found your blog and love it. Is there a way to get regular posts when you update?

Cathy Kleeman said...

Sue - thanks! You can become a "follower" or you can subscribe to one of the readers that will let you know when a blog is updated. I use bloglines.

Gerrie - I got my labels yesterday from Spoonflower and they look great. Much easier than trying to print them out myself.