First things first: the image above is of my piece “Icebergs and Cool Breezes”, inspired by my first visit to Newfoundland in early spring 2008. It also won the award of excellence in 2010 at the Grand National. What is it doing on the cover of the Saskatchewan Writer’s Magazine? Well, let me share: During my trip to Germany I was contacted by the editor of the magazine to inquire about two of my pieces that pertain to winter scenes. Once I arrived home I submitted images, and I am thrilled to share that my photograph of “Icebergs and Cool Breezes” was selected for the front cover. And yes, I did get paid for this. So, studying photography and creating original textile art can be a good combination. Needless to say, I am very happy. The magazine just arrived in the mail last Friday – you are the first to hear about it, unless you are a member of the Saskatchewan Writer’s Guild.
Back to the topic: Usually January drags a bit, but this year I find it just flew by. I can’t believe it is January 30th already. Could it have something to do with the fact that I am working hard at avoiding the daily news (quite unsuccessfully, I might add)? I am making a strong effort here in the studio to reduce my fabric stash, not that I can compete on that front with most of my quilting friends…
Here is a small sample of what demanded most of my energy for the first half of the month. For Christmas I received a copy of “Where Women Cook” from my friend. This same friend was staying with us over the holidays and she was quite happy that I found something that captured my attention right away. She thought I would delight in the amazing food photographs (which I do), and she had hoped I would love one of the recipes and would jump at the chance to recreate it (which I did not… but that is a whole different story. 😉 ). Instead I homed in on a cloth bag that I fell in love with immediately.
We ventured to the studio during one of the chilliest days over the holidays and opened my “most precious fabrics” cupboard. Each one of us selected two fabrics and went to work. A couple of hours later we each sported a versatile new cloth bag. The pattern was downloaded for free via the link from the magazine. Here is the link for the soft and stuffable shopping bags, should you be interested in reducing your stash! Each bag needs about 2 meters of fabric (or 2 yards), one each for the public side and one for the lining.
This is my latest bag, finished just last week. I have made one improvement by adding a compartment inside attached to the lining to ensure I can easily find my wallet or phone. I have given away several bags already! Two of them are on their way to Germany, one was presented to a friend for her birthday (she loved it and declared it her new knitting/crochet bag which she has to hide from her mom!), two more are waiting for artist friends when we get together for coffee next time (it’s a surprise, so I hope they are not reading this). Then there are several fabric combinations I love myself and can’t separate from… I plan to use them for shopping, bringing along a couple of books, I have used it for my laptop to take it to meetings… these are roomy, versatile bags! I have cut out several more using fabrics I thought I could not live without when I found them but never incorporated them into my art as I switched from commercial fabrics to using hand dyed and hand-painted cottons and silks exclusively.
Meanwhile I am in daily contact with my niece and baby Anni via Whats App (ingenious – images, texts and voice clips – all free as long as I am connected to wifi). Anni is a bit of “projectile vomit artist” (is there such a word?)… and Nadine, my niece is running her washing machine constantly. I already sent her some receiving blankets (renamed in my mind to receiving cloths due to their size… and for the first time I understand the meaning of the name). I made these from my flannel stash in December shortly after I got home. She loves them as they are soft and very absorbent, her words, not mine. Last week I cut up the last of my flannels into 6 more receiving blankets (I make them about half size lengthwise to reduce bulk). The blankets, pictured above, are on their way. I used the serger this time to create a smooth finish and get them done quickly – can’t wait to get feedback across the miles.
And since I am on a roll giving my sewing machine a good workout, I used up some rayon batiks purchased two years ago while teaching in Virginia. Last year I bought a pattern from the Kayla Kennington Pattern Collection for a Cross-Over Top. I took the plunge and cut into the batiks to create a reversible jacket that drapes beautifully. Can’t wait to wear it for the first time! And I have quite a bit of fabric left over for some smaller sewing projects…
OK, that’s enough about my last two weeks of blog silence. Hope winter is treating you well – why don’t you leave a comment sharing what YOU have been up to this winter? Looking forward to hearing from you!
Congratulations Anna! It’s a beautiful piece and should be on a front cover. So nice to see you back in your studio full tilt!
This morning, I just finished an abstract piece using my hand dyes from AQC. And I’m happy with it!
Catching up has filled my January. I was able to complete all components of Bonnie Hunter’s mystery quilt and packed them away to be assembled at a retreat. Up to date on a global block exchange. A quilt top completed two years ago is now sandwiched, quilted and bound. Approximately 60 blocks of a 100 mystery quilt by Pat Sloan are complete. I am seriously behind, but then it isn’t a race. Magically a stressful fsmily event has allowed me to keep busy in my quilt room instead of fretting over something I can’t change.
Congrats for being on the cover of Freelance. I was a member of the SWG for many years before quilting took me away from writing. I will combine writing and quilting in a unique way in August. No snow here, quite pleasant.
I have missed not having a daily challenge from you. Today I was looking at the small daily pieces of art I created a couple of years ago and thought they should somehow be joined together. Sorry Anna, the writer in me seems to have popped onto the page.
Never apologize for the lovely long comment with all the news! Now I must confess I am breathless when I read all the things you accomplished. Personal and family challenges have this effect on me as well: I usually immerse myself in creative endeavours… just to drown my worries. Hope you are well!
A daily challenge does not have to be issued by me – why don’t you give yourself a challenge. I did that in 2012 and I love what I did then. Check out my archives for ideas…
My primary challenge this year will be to sell our house and I have stepped away from many responsibilities to follow a more mindful path: And I am loving IT!
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Congratulations on the cover, Anna. The bags are beautiful. Checked out the pattern and know they take some precision and patience. The reward is two meters of fabric have left the stash! That is almost as satisfying as having a photo accepted for a magazine cover (but not quite!).
Thanks Gillian – what have you been up to?
Yes, 2 meters of fabric gone from the stash is great… I have made 15 bags so far and 6 more in the planning stages.
OM Goodness Anna! I am exhausted just from reading this. You have been busy. I too, am trying to use those beautiful fabrics that are just sitting there waiting for me to look at them again… Here not so busy, but did manage to design (sort of) and make two baby quilts. Never again will I take applique patterns for animals, make them and put on a quilt. The Newfoundland piece reminds me of when we were there. I’d go back in a heartbeat. Time to go and crank up the heat in my room and tidy up. take care
I didn’t intend to exhaust you… this is me taking it easy!! Enjoy the process, Paige! That’s the important part when creating!
Loved reading your post 🙂 I myself have been busy trying to improve my illustration skills…Good luck on your sewing projects!
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