Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Beautiful Push

In stages is the better way to go with deep cleaning. The sparkle is lovely but it's a LOT of work. I couldn't have powered through at this level. Today is the kitchen. Tomorrow is the doors and railings. And then I'll take the weekend off before starting on the basement. Yesterday, I cleaned the entry closet, the hall closet, the pantry, and the cabinet in the living room, and moved the living and dining room furniture around, washed the walls, floors, and baseboards, vacuumed the upholstered furniture, and cleaned the wood furniture. It took four hours. And then I had dinner and went to knitting.

Patti was over in the morning. If you remember, this is the lady that I met last fall through another friend. We get together once a week to talk about sewing, creativity, and life in general and it's wonderful. Before meeting Patti, it had been twenty-six years since my friend Caroline moved away and in all that time there had been no one in town who loved to sew as much as I do and wanted to get together regularly.

We have the same body type. She's shorter than me. I'm a size larger. It's close enough that we can try each other's clothes on to see what the garment looks like on us which means - LOL - we have a similar pattern collection. Yesterday, she brought over a black, stretch crepe dress sewn from OOP Vogue 8936. It's GORGEOUS. I've borrowed the pattern and will grade it up to my size.

I've had a similar pattern - Vogue 8382 - in stash for years but seeing Patti's dress inspired me to action. Having a group to belong to, even if it's a group of two, significantly impacts your work. In-between visits, I collect articles, quotes, books, or thoughts to share along with whatever work I've done in the studio. Having something to show Patti is a beautiful push. I'm thankful for the opportunity.

In his book, The Outliers: The Story of Success, author Malcolm Gladwell talks about how no one succeeds without connections. The first time I read that, I started researching the background of successful people and whether it was in the field of writing, textile art, or fashion sewing, they were all part of a group in some way, a group that had a defined part in helping them attain success. Naturally, I wanted to be part of a group and what I discovered is that while you can be open to the idea and available if it happens, you can't make it happen just because you want it to so it's important to be able to both create individually and as a team.  Sometimes, often, you have to be your own push. Sewing blogs are - IMHO - a wonderful resource.

Patti was reading through Marcy Tilton's website and came across her recommendation to read Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon. The sub title is 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative and the points are...

... available on a poster from his website.  I was going to embed a Creative Mornings Austin video where he talks about step six more only Blogger wants a YouTube video and it's not and the code wasn't working so... to save time... since I already slept in today...VBG... here's a link to the blog posting. Although the talk was directed to a specific audience, what I liked is that he talks about sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly and says that the process as opposed to the end result, and especially the successful end result, is encouraging to others who are on a similar journey. Yes.

You probably know already that I agree since I blog about what it takes to figure out what I want to know, what techniques or ideas worked for me, and which ones didn't, and about the circling path of finding, then losing, then finding again some spark of truth that's motivating. My discovery that I like black and texture and monochromatic are not new, I've just seen them in a new light with the added information of what a statement necklace does for me. That was the click I hadn't grasped before. Perhaps it's the click someone else also needs.

We catch our truths in little wisps that over time accumulate. Sharing that process as I do is a combination of my need for authenticity and truth and my desire to support and encourage others. I think it's a disservice when we insinuate in some way that a task was smooth sailing and easy when only that step along the path may have been smooth while the journey is a jagged process of trial and error and up and down that with persistence reaches points of success and then moves on to new discoveries.

For some people, the Internet connects them while for others, it makes them feel incredibly alone. If you research Austin Kleon, you'll find that he has grasped how to use the blogs, websites, Twitter, Facebook, and other on-line resources in an incredible way to promote his business. He appears to be doing well. It makes me tired. I'm just not there anymore and I can't imagine doing that again. I want to spend the majority of my time creating as opposed to talking about creativity but one aspect of the Internet I highly value is the gathering and sharing of information. I love blogging and I love learning. Now that I've read his book and watched this video, I'll look into more of Austin's work. There are numerous videos, including a TED talk, on YouTube if you're interested.

But later. First I need to clean the kitchen which is perfect because cleaning time is also thinking time and a huge quotient of creativity is the thought process.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - Patti


  1. Cleaning and my drive in to work is great thinking time for me.

    I've never commented here before (I'm shy and a very novice sewer compared to you). Just wanted to say I enjoy your blog tremendously. I find it thought provoking, creativity inspiring, and just a little intimidating!

    P.S. - your grandchild is beautiful.

    1. LOL - yes, my grandchild is beautiful... she says... with no slight bias.

      Driving is fabulous thinking time. I've been known by right by my destination because I'm in the middle of resolving some creative question and on auto-pilot. Not exactly good driving but... I'm looking forward to the drive to Oregon in June. It's about twelve hours.

      Thank you for commenting. It's encouraging to me to hear that you enjoy the blog and I love that you think it's thought provoking and inspiring. Those are two reasons I write.

      I understand what you mean by a little intimidating. I've felt that way when I'm with someone whose creativity I really admire, am inspired by, and feel I could learn from. It's a good kind of intimidating and good for us I think because it motivates growth - at least for me. PLEASE feel free to ask questions. I absolutely love to share the addiction and I'm an innate teacher. I can't help myself.

  2. Have I told you that you make me tired just reading about the deep cleaning you're doing? Part of me would love to move to a new house so that I could do a deep purge and reduce the clutter which is mostly my husbands.

    I'm behind on commenting. I loved the lace dress and especially liked the hem treatment. It really does look like you.

    The sheer that I referred to the other day also has quite a bit of burnout that I forgot to mention. Large areas of burnout and because of that I have to use a lighter colored fabric behind. The color that's worked the best has been a light peach but I'm having trouble finding it in a knit that's the right blend and hand. I have a couple different places I'm trying Friday. Keep your fingers crossed.

    You're so very right that it helps to have a group or even one person that you can talk to and bounce ideas around with. Since I joined the sewing guild it's been so much fun to just talk sewing. Your blog is also another place I enjoy. I appreciate the way you respond back and feel like I can bounce ideas off you and use some of your creativity. I feel like I sometimes short cut mine just to get a garment done and I'm not sure why. I'm not really lacking in clothes so it's not like I'm in a hurry for something to wear.

    1. LOL - it's tiring me out too... literally... which is probably good... since I'm missing my husband and dealing with correcting the food issues. A good distraction with fresh results.

      Thanks for the compliment on the lace dress. My friend Patti says it does indeed look better on me in real life than in the picture so it's more wonderful than you think. LOVE how comfortable it is.

      Let me know how things go on Friday. Good luck finding the right fabric.

      I'm glad you enjoy my blog. I enjoy your comments as well although - hint, hint - I would love to see your work as well as share mine.

      We seem to be now culture and in the rush to finish, we miss the journey which I've come to believe is far more important than the destination. LOL - I am lacking clothes but even so, I don't want to rush. I want to explore, experiment, try this, try that, learn, see what happens, and grow my skills and improve results along the way.

      I used to tell my students to do their best at every stage and then they'd get their best results and with practice their skills would grown and their results would improve. It's so true. We can speed up by slowing down.

    2. One thing I don't do is rush. I'm not in any hurry (usually) to get a garment done. I take my time, enjoy the process and I'm happy with the results.

      I think the creativity part for me is pattern drafting. I love nothing more than taking a TNT and changing it enough to look completely different than where it started. I use a lot of prints for tops so any seaming detail would mostly be lost. I like to think the final overall shape is the detail, if that makes sense.

    3. I agree with the not rushing. I enjoy pattern drafting but I also enjoy added detail - taking the pattern beyond the original. I think that's why refashioning appeals to me so much. I like not knowing what the end is until I get there. My friend calls the final overall shape creating an image through illusion. Would that fit with what you're describing? I rarely use prints so the seam lines really interest me especially as more seams are better for my curvy figure. I may as well do something with them.

    4. "I like not knowing what the end is until I get there."

      And I'm almost the exact opposite! When I start a garment I have a vision of what the final piece will look like. By overall shape I'm referring to the silhouette.

      Now to cross post responses. I found the solid fabric for the sheer my stash! After looking today and even to the point of looking at RTW to see if I could find the right color and reuse the fabric I had no luck. Most of the peaches and pinks were too clear and the fabric is a bit muddied or grayed down. The clears made the sheer look dirty. I came home and stared at the yardage and realized there was a slightly darker coral in it and knew I had a knit in that color. Bingo! The fabric was an online order and the color didn't work well with my coloring but covered in a sheer it'll be fine. I'll have to fussy cut to get enough of the color from the sheer but I've got over 2 yards so I can. Now do I want to make a tank style top or dress w/a sheer over layer?

    5. Interesting that we're practically talking in real time. Fun. Not knowing the end is like when I used to create textile art. I'd start with something and do one thing and then another and then another until the piece said it was finished. There's an edgy excitement to that that doesn't exist in sewing the pattern. That's more paint-by-number compared to what I was used to. Refashioning comes close. So will - I think - I hope - learning how to adapt basic silhouettes and make fabric from fabric. I've been working toward it but I'm not quite there yet. Diane Ericson is fabulous at that so I hope to get re-inspired at the workshop.

      The perfect fabric in your stash - go figure. Seems like it should be the first place we look but it's often the last. Great find. Can't wait to hear how the dress works out. I finished my black one and it's a wonderful, basic base for a cardigan or accessories. Now I'm thinking about that.

  3. I have that pattern in all sizes. It really is beautiful. I've made it for both myself and my daughter. You can use a woven for the skirt and a knit for the top.

    1. Do you have it posted on your blog anywhere? I'd love to see your version. Good idea to mix a woven and knit. Hmm....

    2. You know, I don't think I have posted any 3 of the versions. I should fix that.

      OTOH, I declared blog bankruptcy long ago when I realized it was more important for my sanity to keep creating rather than to keep up and post every FO.

    3. If you do, I'd love to see them or you could email me a picture if you have one. I just finished altering the pattern and I'm getting ready to cut it out.

      Blog bankruptcy ? ? ? That's a term I've never heard but I get your point. I only sew one thing at a time and since I blog five days a week it usually works out but I vote for creativity over blogging as well. It's why I don't do Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Instagram and the like. I'd be forever on the Internet. I'd rather sew.


Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.