Thursday, April 19, 2007

Fabric Therapy

Let me start by saying that last week Thursday was awful. Nothing had gone right. My daughter didn't want to go to daycare. 15 minutes of screaming and clinging on to my leg as only a toddler can do later (and a pass off while she was still sobbing to her teacher), I was able to get out the door to make it to work on time. Barely. When I got there, only 1/5 of my students decided to get themselves out of bed to come to class. So much for staying up until 3 a.m. the night before to finish grading their exams. For any other teachers out there -- can we say instant re-evaluation and change of lesson plan for the day? In football (American) terms I threw a Hail Mary pass. (luckily we had a good discussion, but when only a handful of students get the benefit, you begin to wonder) Another student decided to post a message that insulted my subject, my teaching, the university, and the other students in class. As soon as I had conferred with my boss and decided on a plan of action about it, another student responded to her/him and told him/her off. Ok -- now I have to deal with this student as well. Oh, and all of this was before noon and I had run out of Diet Coke (my caffeine intake of choice) at 7:30 am. Can anyone say stress???

So, when the going gets tough what is a dedicated quilter to do? Retreat to the sewing room and play with fabric of course! I went home and ignored the pile of work I had to do and the phone and the nagging feeling I should be cleaning and went to work with my orphan blocks. This time I decided to invert the colors and make the white the points of the stars. I wasn't sure about them at first, but they have grown on me. So I had four blocks made out of orphans --

Hmmn...wait a minute here -- that looks kind of good, I like the way they go together, but the points aren't going to work -- sashing! That's it, sashing. Hmmnn...so now what to use? I still have a ton more scraps from all of the pink and white and green projects I've done in the past few years...I could dig, cobble something together...

So, after auditioning some of my scraps (although I must admit I wasn't too picky about it -- mostly I looked for things I had large enough scraps of to actually use. The unfinished blocks ended up being 11 1/2" by 11 3/4". Also -- note to self -- when measuring blocks, measure BOTH sides, just because it looks "kinda" squarish, doesn' t mean it IS -- re: look for more scraps to cut new sashing strips for lengthwise sashing). And, well, sashing isn't enough, I need cornerstones -- yes, that will work -- but if the sashing is going to be scrappy, the cornerstones should be the same color -- some continuity -- and, well --


There you have it. By the time I had to go pick up dd, I was refreshed, relaxed, and no longer ready to bang my head up against a wall (just to make it feel good when I stopped). Who needs a therapist? I've got fabric.

There's only one problem, these little blocks are no longer just orphans to "play" with, they are developing a life of their own. They are speaking to me. They are saying they want another border. They NEED another border. And, they even are telling me they want me to make crumble blocks. (please tell me I am not the only one who has fabric talking to them -- otherwise I may have to invest in that other kind of therapy) It's not like I can't accommodate them, I have the scraps, I have the know-how, I have a total disregard for most quilting "rules" that allows me to free-piece if I choose. What I don't have is time. So I've had to tell the quilt to shut up -- umm, rather to be patient -- I will get there, but for right now, I have finals coming up, projects due, more student papers to grade, research to do, and my mother coming for a visit next week. So, the little orphans have gone to marinate with summer sorbet until after finals.

And, so that I didn't feel totally guilty for taking an hour or so to veg out in front of the television, I have a UFO I finished! While not really "quilty" I have seen more punchneedle embroidery in quilt shops than anywhere else so I'm thinking it is fair game. I started this one a bit over a year ago as a take-along for a family vacation to Arkansas to introduce dd to one set of her great-grandparents. I thought it would be great -- easy, fast, can finish it in a week -- HA! It is handwork, no matter how easy or "fast" and it took me over a year. The nicely ironic thing is, knowing this, I still started the second one I purchased at the same time as soon as I finished this one! I must be a masochist.

I also spent part of today indulging in some fabric play -- I hope to have pictures of progress soon. I know I shouldn't have started this project, but ooooh those Heather Bailey fabrics are just tooo yummy!

13 comments:

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

Love the "lOVE" picture! Uni lecturer!!What do you do in your spare time!!!
Those orphans are well and truly adopted and moved in I would say-the white looks great as the feature.
I am very impressed and pleased you liked the smile picture. If I could just get to my studio maybe I would feel better! tracey

Kim said...

Ah! So it's the FABRIC talking to me? Gee, and I thought it was just the voices in my head. Okay, tomorrow I'm throwing out the Prozac! LOL! Seriously, though, yes, quilts do talk if you listen, but only if you're doing the designing. And I love your orphans.

KCQuilter said...

Love your orphan blocks quilt!!! Gonna be a beauty. And my teacher buddies around here have started the countdown--I think it is now 26 days. Hang in there! And hooray for Hail Mary passes.

Linda said...

Thanks so much for the morning laughs.Glad to see I'm not the only one who has voices in my sewing room, they just have to be the fabics talking.....
Love your orphan blocks, they turned out soooo pretty.

Fiona said...

Love the orphan blocks - very fresh looking colours.

Tanya said...

Hey, your pink quilt is beautiful! You're supposed to be having fun so it can talk all you want and you can listen when you want and you won't hurt its feelings! Wow! What a busy gal and dealing with college students ! I wonder if I could handle attitudes like that. I can kick kids out of my class (they're grade school age) if the don't want to be nice. Get in some more "therapy" this weekend!

Tonya R said...

Oh, fabric definitely talks. So do quilt blocks and tops. The trick is to listen and not just ignore the voices. Glad to see you've been having a fun conversation with your fabric.

Kristin L said...

Skip the therapy and talk to the fabrics. They are much more inyeresting! I have long conversations with my fabrics ;-) Love the Heather Baily fabrics too, so I can't wait to see what they are telling you!

Patti said...

Oh, I LOVE what your orphan blocks are becoming! And yes - you absolutely are not nuts - my fabric, my blocks, my appliqué, and my quilt tops all talk to me constantly. In fact none of them stop talking until the project is finished - if then! But I like that - it means I have some help when trying to get ideas and make decisions. I think I'd get quilters block all the time if my projects didn't tell me which direction they wanted to head LOL!

YankeeQuilter said...

Fabrics not only talk to me but have personalities all their own...I only worry when I hear them talking behind my back and planning quilt room coups (I know for af act they are trying to relocate the yard and the garmet patterns to the garage.... : )

Rose Marie said...

Wow ... these blocks are great! My quilts talk back to me, so it is not unreasonable that fabric should too! Looking forward to seeing what else you do with these.

lunachick said...

Hey, great quilt blocks! I am still new to sewing and quilting so I am not quite that creative yet. I like to buy a kit and a pattern and go from there. I just went on a three day shop hop and the fabric was CALLING to me! So, yes, I agree that fabric and quilts can talk. And I also use sewing as a motivator to complete my school work as well. Thanks for the great post!

Helen in the UK said...

Love how those pink/green scraps are coming together. Look fab with the sashing. I think you only hear the quilt talking if you are willing to listen! Hope you get a chance to finish when time allows :)