Saturday, July 4, 2015

Only one thing

Yesterday I was off and did absolutely nothing except one thing. 


Before yesterday I was on the 3rd diamond of this Torchon and rose ground sampler. Yesterday I entered the zone. Other than fixing one meal and bathroom breaks, I worked from 9am to 11pm on it. 

People sometimes ask me how long a project took me to finish and I can rarely answer vet definitively. This time I have a better idea. I would say this one took approximately 24 hours of work.  
Now onto everything else left on my "to do" list. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Hello. My name is…

And I think I may have a problem. 

In my small living room I have this…
And this…
And this…
All projects started and advancing. 

The first is the restart of the sampler that I  just spent quite a time practicing on. Gold thread this time to match a knitted doily made out of the same thread

They'll look nice hanging together. 

The second is the edging started on my new pillow and getting along nicely. It's a simple pattern that provides a little rest to the mind while still feeding the soul. 

And the third is a pattern I designed myself to fit into a special antique frame. I thought I might do it in colored threads but after a little testing last night, I've decided to do it all in a white linen thread.   Just need to wind the bobbins and get started on the outside edge tonight while I'm watching the Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug. 

And now I've used the whole morning with these projects which leaves me this afternoon to mow the yards and clean the shed. Somehow I think I've made an error in tactic. I'm off to sweat for the good of my soul. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Failure has to be an option

If we're ever to learn anything new, we have to be willing to try and fail and then try again and fail but maybe not suck quite as much as the first time. Rinse. Repeat. 

One of the biggest thing I see when I teach classes is how uptight people get when they're trying to learn a new skill or a new technique. They often get so bogged down in the mistakes that they actually lose the ability to make progress. 

I know where this comes from but I'm still going to ask the question. Why do we have to be perfect with everything all the time?  

Learning is at the heart of it about experimentation and exploration. Creativity is about the big "What If."

I'm sharing this post about my latest finished lace project simply for the reason that it's riddled with mistakes. Sharing it is part of living what I preach to my students. Mistakes don't matter nearly as much as what you learn in the process. 

My last few projects have been chosen for the simple reason that there are techniques I want to learn to do well. For that to happen, I have to commit to failure being an option. At least for a while. With the right mindset, allowing myself to not be perfect gives me another tool in my belt. I can enjoy the process without the pressure. Out of that I get 2 things:

1.  I get to enjoy the process. 
2.  I learn new skills that I can put to use. 


Looks okay from a distance on a small screen but believe me, there are a ton of errors. I'm going to keep this piece and give it pride of place so it can remind me to take time to do things that are beyond my skill level or that I don't know how to do. 

Time to get the bobbins wound to do it again.  

Sunday, June 14, 2015

So grateful

 Sometimes I forget to slow down enough to realize how blessed I am to have the ability to follow my passion with textile arts.  I've had amazing people in my life to open doors of knowledge and experience and those to share the journey and I've had the means to obtain the tools and supplies to do such a wide variety of things.

With that I've tried to be as generous as I can with others; certainly so many others have been generous with me. And there's no group I know as generous as textile artists. 

I had a great time with the L.A.C.E. Group in Chicago yesterday for their Lace Day. I did more than my fair share to support the vendors and got to spend some time with 3 ladies who were in the middle of learning to needle tat when the person working with them had to go take care of something.  Hopefully they'll also be able to take a road trip to join us in Springfield for the Needle In a Haystack event.

My best purchase was a new pillow. Two years ago at the last Lace Day, there was a vendor with beautiful hand made roller pillows. I was so hoping they would be there yesterday and sure enough they were!  Here's my new baby - an Alan Frederickson bobbin lace roller pillow. 

It even has a nice little spring loaded catch on the drawer in the front.
And I've even got a new project on it. 
And today I got to spend some time with my old knitting buddies to share a little bit about bobbin lace. Such a good group and it was nice to be back with them. 


Thursday, June 4, 2015

How does your garden grow?

Last year I planted a bunch of different varieties of herbs just to see if I could get them to grow. I knew I would use them in cooking, etc. but I wasn't prepared for how lavish they smell as they grow. 

Look at this gorgeous second year thyme. 
After last year, I picked the ones I like the most to cook with but also the ones I liked the scent of - thyme, several types of basil, dill, coriander, chives and flat parsley. 

I also added several lavender plants to the one that revived from last year. They seem to love this soil. Here's one of them. 

The cilantro is ready for the first batch of salsa. 
And the first tomatoes have started. 
Good times. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Fiddly but worth it

I started a tatted doily a long time ago and then it got lost in the stash until I came across it again a couple of months ago when I picked it up again. 

It's finally been finished. It needs to be washed but I wanted to see how the pattern worked. 
There are a lot of hanging bits and turns and twists so the final pressing will be fiddly but it's pretty, I think. So glad to have it finally finished. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Taking shape

I didn't do a huge amount to my back garden last year because I wanted to see what bloomed when. This year, I'm ready to start tackling it.

This has meant digging out copious numbers and varieties of weeds, which is a never ending task. But today I started on the "Big Clearance" project. Even though there were predictions of all-day storms, it's been a glorious day in my little corner of Central Illinois. 

Step 1. Buy appropriate plants that will attract bees and butterflies and some good ground cover plants. 

Check. Got those last weekend. 

Step 2. Clear out the horrible complex of bulbs. They're so compacted that they don't even really flower much. I've got several areas of compacted bulbs that need to be cleared out. 

The first area of attack is about 4x3ft. Out of that small section, I filled 2 heaping wheel barrow loads. Not a little wheel barrow, either. 

That's one load.

One area cleared. 


Next, add good garden soil and mix into area. 


And finally add the plants. 
Two different types of lavender, which really seems to like other similar areas in my yard, some Columbines, milkweed , some sage and several other things. 

Getting an area that looked like this:
And make it look like this:
Is very satisfying although very hard work. No telling how long those bulbs had been growing and they didn't want to go!

But I will get them prepared to give away so others can enjoy them. I may even transplant some of them in other sections of the yard. But in a way that will make both me and them happier.