Friday, November 15, 2013

Where Have I Been? Or, What to Do When The Urge Vanishes

Seven months without blogging. What happened? A lot. Where have I been? Here. What have I been doing? Knitting like a fiend. Recently, sewing like a fiend. Let me explain.

In May my sewing mojo took a hike, went on vacation, was missing in action. Gone. A few feeble attempts at accomplishing something in the studio were in vain. I simply had no desire to sew. None whatsoever. So, I decided that aspect of my creative life needed a break. And I started knitting. I knit like crazy, and shawls appeared like bunny rabbits. Lots of shawls - eight completed so far this year, three more currently on needles. I couldn't get enough of them!

Stephen West's Barndom shawl, before blocking.
Knit with Breathless cashmere/merino/silk yarn.
My absolute favorite yarn and shawl of all time.
This knitting fever lasted all summer, into September. So did the sewing heebie jeebies. No sewing for four months. The entire summer my studio sat idle. And I knit shawls. And socks.

Entwined cabled socks. Knit in Hazel Knits Entice
(merino, cashmere, nylon sock yarn).
Letting the sewing landscape lie fallow was a good move. I firmly believe you can't force creativity. If the urge isn't there, there's no making it happen. Letting it rest lets other things come to the forefront. And it's not gone, it's just hibernating. It's lying quietly, brewing ideas, growing new roots and shoots, preparing to sprout.

And then one day the creative urge returns. For me it was mid-September. Subtle at first, it quickly gained momentum and I found myself in the middle of making a coat. I finished it mid-October, and started another, which I completed today. And now a jacket is under way. My sewing mojo has definitely returned, and the creative energy is flowing freely. It's a great feeling!

Meanwhile, knitting has taken a back seat. I still dabble in it, but I'm not knitting for hours every day like I was. My creative energy has shifted, and that's ok. I finally feel like blogging again - another creative pursuit that ebbs and flows. So here I am, and that's what happened over the past seven months.


In an effort to catch up on blogging, I'm showing two bags I made in April and May. I have only one photo of the first, view B of Diane Ericson's Pacific Purse pattern.

The fabrics are silk duppioni, linen and quilting prints. The button has been in my stash for many years, and it was the inspiration for the bag. The flap and most of the back are stenciled using Diane Ericson's Spring Leaves stencil and Lumiere paints. To create the stripe effect, I used strips of sticky-back paper (like Post-It Notes) to mask part of the fabric. Then I did the stenciling, and carefully peeled the paper away. This could be done with masking tape, also. I added some hand embroidery to add some definition.

I really like this bag, but I never carry it as the greens are too yellow for my coloring. They just don't look great with my wardrobe. I don't want to give the bag away, either, because I like the button too much. For now it will stay as it is, but I suspect the button will some day be removed to be used on a jacket. In the meantime, it can enjoy living on this bag.

The second bag is one of my favorite painted creations. I used both stencils and silk screens to embellish this tote.

The basic shape was achieved using Butterick 5866. I added the pockets on the front and back, plus some in the interior. The fabrics are deep purple cotton shirting, lavender wool gauze, linen, and silk organza. I especially like the organza overlay that is crinkled and embellished with buttons.

That's a foiled damselfly at the top left. I used the foil on a couple of moths as well. The writing on the front is bleached using a dye resist through a silk screen. All of the screens used are from Marcy Tilton. The eucalyptus stencil is from Diane Ericson. It was really fun to combine purple and pewter paint in the stenciling.

The lining fabric is a textured linen/rayon blend, and I added my usual tucked slip pockets to the zippered pocket that came with the pattern.

Once completed, I realized I don't care for the drawstring closure on the top. There's no way I'm going to use a tote with a drawstring for everyday use. So this became my knitting bag, and it's carried many a shawl-in-progress over the past few months.

That wraps it up for this catch-up post. Thanks to those of you who checked in on me during my silence, and visited the blog despite there being no current postings. I love the feedback you readers give, and I missed the online sewing community I've found through this blog. I'm so glad to be back sewing and blogging!