Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Line And A Question - Part 1

Way back in September, I started talking about a curvy line up center front. At that time, I was thinking about t-shirts and about how to cut apart and put back together a seam. Over the next while, my thought patterns evolved from a curvy line to a line to why does it have to be up center front to why does it have to be cut apart and sewn back together because there are many ways to make a line beyond cutting and stitching.

The more I thought about the line concept, the more excited I got about the possibilities of this study and then I heard about a painting exercise called 30 in 30. The goal is to paint thirty small paintings in thirty days. It seemed I could apply that concept to the line study and make thirty lines in thirty days only I didn't want to the study to take over the studio - I still wanted to sew garments - so I opted for thirty lines in thirty weeks.

And then... I started to think utilizing those lines in some kind of article and opted for a simple flat fold bag. The long rectangular shape would allow me to create a line using remnants and other supplies from around the studio and would produce a specific product. The bag shape became the blank canvas I would fill.

Right about that time, my friend was in a craft show and asked me to come and look around. I remember writing how jaded I am on craft shows and how glad I was not to be doing that and about a week later I called her suggesting that we share a booth in the next show. Not because I wanted to make bags to sell but because I wanted the push and deadline of having a show. My agreement with myself was if I could not manage the critic and my thoughts strayed away from ways in which to make lines and focused increasingly on what would people buy and how much can I make from this, I'd back out of the plan. Well... those questions did come up but that's not what's derailing me.

I started with a basic line - black and white for contrast. There was a long narrow strip of the black with white plaid left from the Koos skirt so that became the first piece. I paired it with a wider section of a white linen and stitched each section with channels to a base of thin batting and asked myself that great question - What do I think of that?

The black section is half the size of the white section and yet it visually dominates not only because of the black color but because of the heavier tactile and visual texture. I lay strips of black pearl cotton in between the channel stitching and decided that running stitches could help to create more weight on the white side. My critic is at this point jumping up and down telling me this is boring, too basic, who would buy this, and all those other typical starting statements. I ignored her.

My handwork skills are extremely limited. As soon as I started the second row of stitching, I made the decision not to try to make each row identical. I knew if I tried to do that, I'd go crazy and quit. Only by making each row to the best of my ability would I develop skills. And that was okay. And my critic reminded me how boring this was so...

... I added a row of pink in the channel right at center front. In the detail image above, you can see it much clearer however, as you can see below, it's easily lost in the overall bag. None of this bothered me because making this bag was exactly the step-by-step, start and not know the end, way of working that I enjoy. I constantly asked myself what do I think of that? and then pondered what if I ______? as a next step.

There is better balance with the hand stitching on the white portion of the bag. It creates some texture and visual interest but not enough for any real excitement. It definitely isn't done.

On Tuesday, I went over to my friend Patti's thinking we would work together on adding some interest to the bag with stenciling only she decided to send the supplies home with me and make me do it myself. LOL - I'm supposed to have this finished for tomorrow. It's not going to happen but I do recognize that painting and talk of stamping and stenciling are coming up with great regularity. I know it's "the next frontier" that I need to spend time developing skills within. That's good information and so is...

... how bored out of my mind I was making this bag and how disinclined I am to make another one. It made me think about what do I actually want to accomplish, what work engages me, what do I want to be known for, and what do I need at this point in my life. I'm pondering those questions and I have some answers. Maybe not the whole answer. But a start. More tomorrow.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - friends that give concrete, useable, "Myrna" advice and provide push and caring


  1. "Push and caring"--what a fine working definition of friendship. Elle

  2. I really like the hand-stitching, especially the fact that it is hand-stitching. It is soothing and lovely at the same time.

  3. "Just because you can do something does not mean that you should do something." This applies to nuclear proliferation, genocide, and boring needlework projects about equally, I reckon. Hurray for you for pushing through to a finish, even on the most basic of basic tasks. Once you start to throw paint at it, the bag will become more beloved to you. I promise. In the meantime, rejoice that you have used up some scraps, tested another technique, recognized a deep truth about yourself. Sounds like good Christmas gifts, to me. Merry Christmas!

  4. Oh dear, that bit about genocide and nuclear proliferation sounds unwarrantedly callous. It was not meant so -- I am guilty of the sin of Smart-Aleckness. It shall be my new year's resolution to think harder before letting things fall out of my head and publishing them. Sigh. Happy New Year, and grace and peace to all.

  5. Last night, my husband was working on my computer and told me that the error message I keep getting is something to do with a bad match between Microsoft's latest update and Blogger. It seems to be affecting posting replies as well and I've had a few private messages from readers who haven't been able to post at all. FRUSTRATING.

    Elle - it's a great working definition of friendship and one I desperately need. Does me no good to be pandered to all the time.

    Martha - I enjoyed the running stitch on the bag and on the Koos skirt. It seems something to include more often. I doubt I'll ever be a huge handwork fan but a bit more adds contrast and interest. Thanks.

    Lin B - I got what you meant and it wasn't too smart-alecky for me. I have to tread carefully with some of my opinions. We live in a world that embraces free speech on one hand and is unaccepting of personal opinion on another. YES - it's a lovely gift to recognize a truth about yourself and especially if it points you a far better direction. I think this one has.


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