Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Fabulous Brain Workout

It's only been a couple of days so I'm probably far too optimistic hoping for full fledged spring and even so, yesterday I took my lunch and sat by the lake and watched the birds in the sanctuary and then I walked three kilometers to the end of the trail... and back. It started to rain about a third of the way back but that was fine. My raincoat has a hood!

One of the things I thought about was my conversation with my coach - Diane - last week. We talked about how guilty I've been feeling about the blissful general description of my current lifestyle and how a general description does not measure other concerns. Dumping your whole life story is just not something you do at the general level.

AND... because I moved here to be part of a creative community and to therefore more creative... I was feeling under incredible pressure to go into the studio and create - all day - every day - amazing things. That's not the plan. Although I know for a fact that God moved me here, I'm beginning to see that the resting, healing, and preparing stage of the land between is not over yet; it has changed how it looks and it has changed locations but it's not over yet.

Another thing Diane and I talked about was the push pull tension I feel between creative and entrepreneurial ideas.  On one level, I know that just because I know something doesn't mean I have to do anything with it and on another level, I have not shortage of business ideas only when I think about them there are some things I will never do again and some things I can hardly wait to do again... when the time is right. My question for our next session is what would it look like if I invited opportunity to come to me? That's a really interesting question. Sharing on the blog is part of the answer.





Typically, I keep my sewing contained to the studio only this piece needed to be somewhere else. It's one of three quilts that I batted earlier this week. It has been at least twelve years since I've made a bed size quilt. Two are twin size with a substantial drop and are for the guest room beds and one is queen size for our bedroom. All of them are whole cloth and will be stitched with lengthwise channel stitching spaced the width of the presser foot. That's relatively easy only I am not at all used to working with this amount of bulk anymore and unless I pace myself I could end up with very sore shoulder muscles so I set up on the dining room table with sunshine, the view of the pond, and a timer. I will stitch for thirty minutes, twice a day, until I'm done. That's about 2" each time. It's going to take a while.





The guest room quilts are a mottled, twill like, fabric that I bought in the bargain center in Calgary when I was visiting my daughter. I didn't think I had enough for both quilts so the last time I was there, I looked for more and found only one meter. That turned out to be all I needed. The seven meters I had were enough for the two quilts and the one meter will work for the binding. I'm stitching from the back since it's so much easier to see my lines on the lime green. The stitching is subtle. That's okay. It's the look I wanted even if it appears to be a lot more work than it's worth. Once they're on the bed, I think the stitching will show more.





When was the last time you did something for the first time
is one of those quotes that has really resonated with me. I read it several years ago in one of my studies and it's a question I often ask myself... just to make sure I'm not staying stuck in some rut. A few weeks ago, we had a double knitting demonstration at knitting group. I didn't intend to participate only it captured my imagination. I ended up going home and trying it.





With double knitting, there are two right sides showing the knit stitch that face outward and two wrong sides with pearl stitches that face inward. Crossing over the colors from one side to the other knits the work together otherwise it would be a pouch.

I already knit continental with my left hand so I had to learn how to hold the second yarn in my right hand and flick it over the needle... with the same tension as the left hand... which took quite a few samples and considerable time. When I finally felt confident enough I started working on my cream and grey piece and it's certainly knitting up a lot slower than any recent project. It's also a lot of fun. AND... I found this video that shows double knitting with both yarns in the left hand so now I need to try that too.

What I found interesting was how engaged I was with learning this new skill. When I tried polymer clay, it was ho hum and even though I tried to stay with it and push through with textile jewelry, it didn't capture my imagination like this knitting has. Is it because the other two were entirely new and this new style of knitting builds on previous skills or is it because fiber and knitting are my thing? That too is an interesting question.

With the quilts I'm going way back to something I used to do. I don't want to quilt do as much as I want them done and since I have more time than money, quilting them myself is the only option. With the double knitting, I'm taking a skill I already have in a new direction that is different enough to teach new skills and to inspire new projects. I'm making a scarf and dancing in my head is the idea for a reversible sweater - child's size - just because I can.

Diane and I also talked about how the phrase you could sell that is a compliment. And it is. Even if I don't want to sell anything. I am glad to have reached the stage where I can follow up curious questions just because there is something there I want to know. Knowing is enough of a reason whether it's a new way of knitting and a new knitting project or whether it's...





... following up an idea sparked by an article I read about crotch curves that made me think about those wrinkles I don't like and why they might be there. I'd link to the article only the bookmark went missing when Windows decided to upgrade itself without my consent. SO ANNOYING.

The article had a diagram that compared the crotch curves of the different pattern brands. Naturally, I had to know what mine was so I used the flexible ruler to - again - determine my curve and then compared it to the diagrams. I have a short front curve, and a long back curve and what Pati Palmer refers to as a high/low crotch in her book Pants for Real People. Many big name sewers don't recognize the high/low crotch but if you have one, you do.

I'll make a video to show what I mean after I've tested a new muslin but just imagine that the crotch point and the waist remain stationary and you have a length of string equal to your front crotch curve and another equal to your back crotch curve. The string has to run from the front waist to the crotch point and then from the back waist to the crotch point. If the string is short, it'll take a more direct route and if it is long, it'll need to droop down. LOL - I droop down.

I have figured out a lot of alterations that are working fabulously for me because I've been willing to let go of a fixed idea and try a new one when I think it has potential. That's how I found out I'm short waisted and that I need a narrow chest and a narrow back adjustment versus a narrow shoulder adjustment and that's how I found out that I'm petite through the armhole and need to raise the underarm about an inch and that I don't need to move the bust point for that exact reason but I may need to do a full bust adjustment. EVEN IF...

... you think you know the answer, be willing to question it and to question "authority". Just because big names X, Y and Z say it's not true, perhaps it is true for you. It's a thought. A viable one. One recent pant discovery for me was that the top of the waistband needs to sit at my waist as opposed to the bottom of the waistband otherwise my rib-cage pushes the waistband over. My waist is like a string. Another discovery is that I don't actually have the tipped waist that I thought I had... for years. That often happens when a new adjustment corrects an "old" issue in a different way.

NOW, I am going to retest how much hip depth I've been taking out as well as a new shape for the crotch curve. With the article, my measurements, and my curve shape, I think I can come up with an even better answer that the one I've been using. That's exciting. I hope that you'll keep searching for better answers. To me, that's one of the great things about sewing. Not only is it highly entertaining with a bonus of clothing that fits, it's a fabulous brain workout.

It's been a week of calming awareness and of revisiting some previous skills, of taking some current skills further, and of re-evaluating others. This is good. In the dining room, I'm working on the quilts. In the studio, I'm working on the third pair of pant using piecing techniques, a bunting bag for my youngest grandson, and a refashioned sweater. In my curl-up chair, I'm working on the double knitting. And outside, I'm walking longer distances and starting on the yard work with the very-ugly-but-I'll-make-it-pretty front yard. Overall, things are getting done bit by bit while I am de-stressing and finding better balance. YES YES

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - new crotch curve information to explore for a better fit

14 comments:

  1. In the alteration book that I got at puyallup from Lorraine Henry it is called a recessed pubic bone. Ask me how I know about all of this😎 So now I too am getting better at this alteration. Louise Cutting calls it a tilted waist. It just results in too much fabric in the front and way too much plumbers butte! I love to see your alteration process.

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    1. I bought that book when you recommended it so I'll see what she has to say as well and let you know what works. Thanks.

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  2. Even if you do not love the quilting process right now, it might take you somewhere creatively. I often feel inspired by the textures of my finished quilts even though I do not love the machine quilting process. SO for me the quilting will be worth the trouble for the extra textural beauty even if it is subtle.

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    1. Quilting was my primary outlet and career for MANY years - over twenty - so I've done a lot of it and I do love the textures it creates. I also love the threadwork I did on my art pieces. Smaller pieces are probably better at this point but I've sewn about eight inches on the first twin quilt now and it's looking fabulous.

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  3. Would you give us the link to the article about crotch curves, please...that pesky fit.
    Many thanks
    Vancouver Barbara

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    1. ... following up an idea sparked by an article I read about crotch curves that made me think about those wrinkles I don't like and why they might be there. I'd link to the article only the bookmark went missing when Windows decided to upgrade itself without my consent. SO ANNOYING.

      ... All I Know is that it was a link from Diary of a Sewing Fanatic.

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    2. Thanks.
      Vancouver Barbara

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    3. You're welcome. Sorry I can't be more helpful.

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  4. Your push-pull, creative-entrepreneurial comments resonated with me. When I first started designing pillows and making jewelry, plenty of people told me I should sell my things. I tried, but NOTHING happened except the dampening of my creativity. As soon as I stopped trying to monetize my hobbies and just create things I wanted to wear or toss on my furniture, people started offering me money for those things. I've sold countless necklaces right off my neck, and friends now have me make toss pillows in colors that coordinate with their own decor. I've seen plenty of women lose excitement and passion for creative efforts as soon as they move from playfulness to trying to shore up their hobbies through sales. It just seems to me to work better when the hobby moves more organically into a business, often through teaching their skills to others. Thanks for reminding me of this... it came at a good time.

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    1. I totally agree that the organic movement is critical. So is clarity around what you do and don't want to do. I don't mind selling what I've made as you're saying with selling the necklaces from around your neck but I don't want to make things to sell. It's a subtle change of wording with vastly different results. For me, teaching is the number one way I like to share my creativity. I love helping someone move in a new direction or understand a concept better so they can utilize it in their work. That's a big yes for me.

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  5. 7pinedesign.com blog just had a post about how to use blocks to check out pattern fit on March 3rd. She was using different patterns to show how much variation is in crotch curves. It was one of those posts that made me say "oooohhhhhhhhhhhh!" because for some reason showing the comparisons in 3D sank in my brain more than the patterns left flat like normally done.

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    1. That's an interesting article - http://7pinedesign.com/how-to-use-blocks/ - thanks for mentioning it. AND... even when we find a pattern line that has our general shape, we'll need to fine tune it. I sewed the muslin yesterday using the shape I transferred from my flexible rule and it fit fabulously and then I made a pair of stretch jeans and yes, yes... I'm on to something. Figuring things out is part of the fun for me.

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  6. Love this post! So much good thinking!!

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  7. Perhaps the article you are talking about is Pants Fitting 3 on Artisan's Square? There are comparisons of the crotch curves of 5 or 6 pattern brands, and comments on the flexible curve made me order one right away.

    Sydney Brown

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