Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Sanity Stitching: Free Form with Rulers

I put my foot down yesterday (with myself) and made sure that I got some sanity stitching done. Remember my post about Sanity Stitching? Quilting keeps me sane, so it has to be part of my life or the crazy comes calling.

Contrasting thread and fabric isn't for the timid. All the bobbles show.
Besides, anyone who does free motion quilting needs to keep that muscle memory going with practice. I felt a little rusty.

Love these QP Curve rulers. So nice in the hand.

I wanted to do a little ruler work, but didn't have anything pieced to work on. Plus I didn't want to try a full-fledged project while stitching on the sales floor of my shop. I wanted something guilt free, not another WIP or UFO. So I did a little free-form ruler work. That sounds fancy, doesn't it. Well, it's not. I just slapped down a ruler in a few places and then quilted a few shapes. Not much to look at maybe, but it fed my soul.




I made a sandwich with a dark blue solid and got out some thread I had been itching to try. I love my Glide thread (some is now listed in our online shop too! More to come.) for my free motion work, but as a sewing machine dealer, it's always good to have plenty of choices in thread, so I've been looking at bringing in threads from Wonderfil Specialty Threads.


This is Spaghetti, a 50wt Egyptian cotton thread, but I've got others I want to try too, all picked up while at Quilt Con East. It's also in one of my favorite colors, of course, turquoise. So pretty.



I made some circles with a Simple Circles template too. See that puzzle piece shape? Something like this is important to have on any template that is an interior shape. You want to be able to put the template around the foot and then take it off without having to cut the thread.



With the piece in, you've got a smooth place to slide the foot against. Though that's less important than being to take it off and on.


Then I just played however I wanted. I'll mess around with this a little bit more as I have time. If I have time, that is. Moving a shop isn't the easiest or most time efficient thing to do!


Speaking of the shop, this coming Saturday we begin the move. I'm really excited about this as I'm sure I've mentioned a bunch. I'll have a studio/classroom that is separate from the sales floor so that will help me do my creative thing whether sewing, quilting, designing, or teaching.

This isn't a show stopper of a piece, but I'm enjoying having some quilting fun, and if I get sick of it, I'll pass it on to the hubby to use as testing fabric for machines. Guilt-free quilting.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

3 Key Steps to Find Your Creative Flow

I posted last week about finishing the Ombre Triangle quilt I had been working on, or rather off and on, for far too long. I had shared how it felt like the project was just dragging along and I think the big dissatisfaction I had with it was that I was never really able to get into the creative "flow" that I usually find when I quilt.

Do you know about "flow"? Call it being in the groove, absorbed in the process, or whatever, but it's that state of being when you are focused on a project and lose all track of time. It's addictive to be in that state, so I guess I'm in withdrawals a bit.

When you're in the state of flow, the ideas and the execution of them are in perfect harmony. This is a fabulous state to be in when creating a new pattern, improv piecing, free form applique, drawing, painting, whatever. Things just flow from brain to hand and it's just all....flow-y. Angels sing in the background, the seam ripper is forgotten and you get stuff done.

I did find a bit of that state yesterday while working at our new shop location, painting the walls a cheerful, sunny yellow. I think the color is called "peaceful calm." Seems appropriate to me. I stayed until 11pm painting!


When you're outside of the creative flow, you can still be creative, but it can seem disjointed and harder. More like work and less like fun. Less creative too. It can feel forced.

If you are a creative soul, and I bet you all are, you know what I mean about flow. Sometimes it seems magical and elusive, but it is also something we can cultivate.

How do we cultivate flow?

Well, there are folks who are much better on this subject than me, but I know the first thing is to give ourselves permission to create and experiment. Yes, that sometimes giving ourselves permission to fail.

We can also set aside time for our creative pursuits. That's probably pretty close to giving ourselves permission to create. No one really leaves a life free of concerns these days. Even if you're retired, I know days can get busy with family, travel, service  and charity projects. There's always the mundane of course; housework, bills, etc. For most of us there are the concerns of work, kids, maybe elderly parents and other things that can keep us busy.

You are of no use to anyone if you don't give your soul what it needs. So make time to dabble in your creative pursuits and get into the flow of what makes your heart sing.

[Full disclosure, that might be the most hypocritical thing I've said in a while. I have not prioritized my time to do my creative thing. Hubby even gave me a lecture on it today, he might not have been happy about that late night painting thing....]

Flow is also aided by setting aside a place to be creative. A separate studio is a pretty sweet thing, but it could also be having a grab and go set of tools and materials for a more portable project. It could also be a nice walk or trip outdoors for creative inspiration.

One of the things I'm super excited about our new shop location (to open June 1!) is that it has proper spaces to separate different activities. A workshop for the hubby and his sewing machine repair. (Seriously, you should see the explosions of dust and sometimes glitter that occurs when cleaning a machine! Don't neglect to get your machine properly serviced.) An actual office, a space for the kids when they are in the shop (just in time for summer vacation!), and my favorite, a classroom/studio.

The classroom/studio will make it easier to have classes of course, but will also be my studio. Where I can do my creative thing without having to keep it sales-floor presentable. No stomping upstairs tenants either! This will help get a semi permanent video arrangement set up so I can do more videos.

Funny aside, I got an email the other day from a cosmetics company that referenced my number of YouTube followers and proposed working together on sponsored content. Clearly he hadn't actually looked at my videos or he would have seen that my face is only seen in a few videos! Nope. Not gonna happen.


So there's just 3 things you can do to find that flow in your creative pursuits. What things do you do to find your flow and in what activity are you most likely to be doing when you are in flow?


By the way, I flipped my ombre triangles quilt over to inspect my machine binding and fell back in love with it. The back shows the chunks I grouped the 60 degree triangles into for quilting. Gotta love quilts with pretty backs.