Thursday, June 10, 2010

All in my head

Do I look different to you? Have you notice? Did I cut my hair? Lose some weight? Botox wrinkles away?

None of these. Let me help you. It's all in my head(ing) which used to say ambitions of a beginner or beginnings of an ambitious quilt artist. I still quilt. I still think of myself as a beginner. I'm still ambitious. I'm still an artist. My new subheading subtlely reflects my clearer focus and resolve.

"It is necessary . . . to go beyond . . . to create something so unique – personal yet universal – that it takes viewers beyond their own understanding, perhaps even out of their comfort-zone, and shows them the world in a new way. Only then . . . does an artist cross the line . . . to fine art."

Rose Fredrick was referring to specifically to illustration, but she could just as well be talking about any other craft or medium - or about quilting. I intend to eventually cross that line and create art.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tip for a tipping thread stand

I've stitched many miles with machine piecing. I've used Aurifil Cotton Mako' 50 but it's not as readily available here. Spools of Superior Masterpiece were satisfactory so I gave their cones a whirl. Their spools hold 600 yards but the cones hold 3000 yards. A lot of thread. Aurifil's spools hold about half that.

Only trouble is, my Janome 6600 didn't like it. Even with its own thread stand. The upper thread kept breaking. Especially if I sewed fast. Especially when crossing seams. Switched needles. Still broke. Adjusted tension. Still broke. I turned the upper tension lower and lower. Broke less but the upper and lower were out of balance. What to do?

This happened just before leaving for workshops at the Barn. What better place to ask for advice than from other piecers? I brought the cones along on the chance I may be able to use them after all.

The advice? Use a thread stand. At least get the one from Joann's – it'd be better than nothing. So I got the Dritz stand. It's all lightweight plastic even the upright arm. I used it only when winding bobbins with me assisting so the arm rod doesn't fall out. Get what you pay for! Superior Threads sells a nice heavy duty weighted thread stand. But I wouldn't want to pack that lead weight.

During the unpacking back home I spied a screw in the base where the rod goes in. Aha! Loosened it and pushed the rod in further. Tightened it and it kept the rod from falling out. The tip: use this set screw. 
Now the stand is set high behind the machine. Now my machine is happy. I am happy. And my thread tension is back up and in balance. Ta-daa! Happy ending!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Two humbling weeks at the Barn

The first week was Sets & Variables I & II. It was really really tough. Since some of the students had already taken a Sets & Variables workshop elsewhere, Nancy notched up the challenge. She even warned us not to hyperventilate before giving us the big exercise. Ha! We were all along for the rough ride and hanging on for dear life! The result of all that hyperventilation top right. 

The second week, Sets & Variables III, seemed easier. Had we found our groove? Or were the exercises easier? Then Wednesday afternoon we got the final BIG assignment. How to even begin to approach this? Total brain freeze. Such a humbling experience.

I started putting things on the wall and recovered some how somewhat. (Not) sleeping on it helped. At 2am I was eager to get working again! By Friday afternoon I had nearly the entire composition pinned on the wall. Pinned not sewn, my dears. At least I had a good idea of where it's going before packing it up. My 4'x8' final project bottom right.