Saturday, July 30, 2011

Time Keeps on Ticking

Wow, it's been a while since last I wrote a few thoughts from out of my head and into my computer, still not sure how this really works but it's cool and I won't question the magic.
I've been busy sewing and quilting orders and clothes and jumpers and oh my I really have made it to the Emerald City and this is a horse of a different color. My days once full of I wonder what it will be like to sew all day has gone to having orders to fill and I am sewing like mad. I've even found that I am starting to love my new quilt frame.
When I first started using it nothing went right. The frame was to close to the wall, the sewing machine wasn't sitting in the tray right, the tension was off even though I had just checked it before I got the whole thing together. Getting the back lined up and rolled and the batting and the top oh it was a long process and not a pretty picture. Cruise control for a sewing machine, are you kidding? Fast slow start stop tear out tear apart tear my hair out...

But now, now it's not so bad. It's away from the wall so I'm not bumping into it when I am trying to follow a pattern, the tension can be tricky but I seem to be smoothing it out and loading the back and batting then top, piece of cake now. Am I doing lots of fancy patterns with lots of swirls and feathers are you kidding? I've just figured out how to stipple in strips of 8 inches verse from the center out and around. I've learned to love the cruise control after all who doesn't like a little luxury now and then?
What I've learned is it's a process of learning new things all the time. Not being afraid to get it wrong so you can figure out how to get it right or maybe even a bit closer to right at least. I now not only have a workflow for orders I have one with goals on it for new things I want to try and learn. I really want to learn how to make those beautiful feather designs on a quilt frame, Miter corners not only on binding but also through out a quilt. How to use embroidery thread to quilt with and maybe even some hand quilting but I'm not really worried about that one to much Sewing machines are pretty handy if you ask me...

I just want to keep open to the possibilities and the process. It wouldn't hurt if I could figure out the tension thing a little faster sometimes but for now I'll deal with the tweaking and keep a smile on my face, a pen in my hand for new ideas and things to do, and my sewing machine oiled and ready to start the next adventure. To Infinity and Beyond.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Seeing Cinderella through Rose Colored Glasses

Seems when you have a dream come true you have to remember it's not all walking on clouds or seeing everything through rose colored glasses. Those soft glowing edges that make everything seem dreamy and surreal fade and the sharp edges of reality start to appear.

Now don't get me wrong. Do I love walking into my pretty pink studio with my cup of coffee in hand and seeing my sewing machines sitting ready in anticipation, (yes I have more than one, and your point? Doesn't a mechanic have more than one wrench?) hell yes. I mean, this is my dream but the edges are very clear now.

I learned I needed to add extra light to work by because the soft edges were killing my eyes and I needed to add a bit of padding to my chair because sitting for hours in one spot can really take it's toll on the back side. I tried a back rest thing, but that didn't help at all. I don't have any little house mice or fairies to come in at night and clean up the mess from the day before, so I do have to sweep up the scraps and bits of thread or my chair doesn't roll from cutting table to sewing machine and back to ironing board. If I don't stay a bit organize I am spending way to much time looking for a bit of fabric I had the day before which took a week to get here in the first place, and it should be here somewhere for heaven sakes. Maybe I do have fairies or mice that just like to play games with me instead.

In all my dreams of starting Mama Jean's I don't think I ever saw the need for a work schedule to make sure that I can get orders done in a timely manner. I mean schedules and flow charts come on, that's for those who work 8 to 5 somewhere else. Not in dreams. In dreams things appear magically all created and perfect. Shipping must be done via the fireplace or transporter or maybe even sewing storks that deliver on your doorstep. Fabrics never have to be purchased or ordered or waited upon, and all the cutting and prepping to get it ready to sew is all done for you. Come to think of it, dream mice must be very busy.

Scheduling time to eat, over rated. Doing laundry or changing the sheets, are you kidding we're in a dream. Dreams don't have dusty edges or toilets that need cleaning. Dogs aren't even in the picture so time to walk them never needs to be considered and weeding the garden or cleaning up the wood pile, isn't this were Cinderella comes in?

Ok ok, so a schedule of sorts isn't so bad. I mean I have a work schedule to finish orders for quilts so I must be doing something right or I wouldn't even have need of one. I have fabrics that have been ordered and are waiting for the quilt that they will be going into and I even have a beautiful handmade broom to make sweeping up the studio a joy and a bit magical. Raspberries are in the freezer from our own bushes, tomatoes are on the vine and even though I haven't figured out all the details of the cleaning and the dusting, all in all, things seem to be working out.

Now, I dream of two new sewing machines...(smile) tools of the trade. I long for a longarm quilting machine to put on my quilting frame instead of lugging my machine up and down the stairs each time and I long for a new fancy stitch machine for those little extras...and maybe a better chair too that doesn't require extra pillows..hum

So yes, the edges are a lot sharper and the world a bit messy, but the dream lives on and this Cinderella will keep on singing and sweeping and cleaning, after all fairy tales are just reality through rose colored glasses.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Quilts Quilts Quilts or Maybe Just Maybe....

It's amazing how things change around you if you just open up to the possibilities.... When I started thinking about Mama Jean's years ago it was to create clothing for others. Let me correct for people of size. Otherwise, real people not the size 0 crowd. I was also sure how many aspects of sewing clothes I don't like when sewing for others.

I don't enjoy tailoring of any kind. I don't enjoy all the little steps creating important details to make a suit look like a suit. I don't in general enjoy working with the fabrics that come with tailoring. So I didn't want to do that at all. Then, I don't really enjoy the idea of making some patten that I don't like. Not that there is anything wrong with a pattern, but if I don't like it to begin with I don't want to make it. There are so many fabrics associated with making clothing that I don't like working with. Also, creating for other what they think they want isn't as easy as it sounds. So, it's funny now thinking about all the things I don't like about it that I ever thought I would be happy just doing that.

So, my energies have been pulling and pushing toward quilting. Working with colors and fabrics I adore and love. Creating from the heart and filling me with joy. Big ones. little ones, special custom design ones, doesn't matter. I can spend 12 hours a day sitting at my machine and not realize how late it is if the quilt is calling my name... and so quilting has become a focus and a passion. I love getting custom orders from people. A quilt for a teenager going off to college. A loved one getting married or a birthday gift. Or maybe a dream someone has about a quilt they want and have been collecting fabrics for. Quilting makes my heart sing and I love the tune.

I have been creating clothing for friends for years and love making them things because I adore and love them but also I am creating things I have designed so I never really looked at it as sewing clothing for others.

But recently I got to make a dress for Nina and it was great. I didn't think about all the things I didn't like at all. She like the style of my panel dresses and wanted one. She picked the fabric and I helped with the details. I left the fabric store with a lovely stack of fabric and was free to create. It turned out perfect for her, and I realize that maybe I have room for both. That I need to be open. To see what the universe might have in store for me. Maybe I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of where I am going and I am as they say, at the top of the iceberg and everyone knows that 90% of an iceberg can't even be seen.
Maybe just matter, the journey is incredible and I love the view.