I know it has been awhile since I have written. Since my last posting I retired from my teaching position at the university and had knee replacement surgery. I also began a very structured transformation program and have lost a lot of weight and am much stronger. I am eating healthier and working out 6 times a week. This has afforded me more energy to do the things I didn’t have time for when working….YEAH!!!
The biggest thing was time in my studio. I never felt like I had enough time to really be creative there. Now after recovering from the surgery I have been working every day to get ready for two up coming quilt shows. I will be vending at each.
I decided to pick a theme this year…”Tradition meets Modern”. I also decided to pick one quilt block and see what modern looked like. My block, I don’t know how it happened, is the Dresden Plate block
I know this block has been around a long time and many quilters know it. It was one I had never made. It looks daunting but it really is easy to put together. It uses a wedge ruler and who knew there were so many different degrees of those wedges!!!
So I set out to see what was modern with this very traditional block.
While searching on Pinterest I came across a Dresden Neighborhood.
I was immediately smitten with it. That was my first block
Then I found these little rulers;
and my very first block was with one of the smallest rulers you could use…LOL
Here it is!!!!!!:
From there I have gone plum crazy!!!! (these did get turned into a wall hanging. It is being quilted as I write this. 🙂
There are so many ideas I didn’t get to yet. When the shows are over I am planning on continuing this Dresden journey. Use of a 9 degree ruler will be in my future!
That’s it for now!!! Off to the studio for more fun.
I heard that giggle 🙂 We’ve all be guilty one time or another. That moment when you step foot in the yarn shop. Your heart starts racing. You gasp with delight as your eyes roam from one surface to another. Color and texture as far as the eye can see. Like a kid in a candy store you start to get giddy. Slowly you take a step in. You stop and look around. Which way to start? The alpaca, the cotton, the textured wool…what to do? It’s all so overwhelming.
You take another deep breath and put one foot forward, then another. Your hand reaches out and plucks a soft alpaca ball. You roll it in your hands and give it a tender squeeze. You admire the content of the yarn and appreciate the color combination. Gingerly you lay it back in its nest with the others. You stroll along, your outstretched hand with fingers extended lightly glides along one skein after another.
Suddenly you look up and there she is. Your eyes meet…the shop owner has walked into the room. Silence descends upon the room and you find yourself holding your breath! Like a kid with their hand caught in the cookie jar you have been caught! What is she going to do? Then she walks slowly towards you, your hand still resting on the yarn. You can see she is about to speak. What will she say?
“Stop drooling on the yarn, we wouldn’t want it to get all wet” she says and then with a slight chuckle she continues….”we’ve all done it, we just have to pet the yarn!” Oh my…there, the cat was finally out of the bag. She understood and she was OK with it.
As a shop owner I can’t tell you how many times this scene played out. But why is it we have to touch and finger every last skein, ball, hank, fleece and fiber in the shop? So I decided to ask my friend Goggle.
This is what I found out. There are a lot of very scientific articles out there about the chemical make up of the brain and all the actions and reactions the body goes through but I didn’t want this to be a science class.
Bottom line: Soft, fluffy things provide a sense of security and comfort. (I get grumpy when I haven’t worked with fiber in several days…how about you?) One experiment explains this phenomenon: Harry Harlow’s monkey experiments. If your want to know more here is a link: Harry Harlow, Monkey Love Experiments
Studies on touch preference over the years have generally yielded the same results: We like things that are soft or smooth; we dislike things that are jagged or sharp; depending on what we’re feeling, we experience a mild sense of pleasure or displeasure. Research has shown that these preferences can have measurable effects, influencing our moods and how we relate to others. Touching also brings up memories. Some metaphors we use: A particularly harrowing experience is “rough.” A sweet moment makes you feel “warm and fuzzy.”
Like smells and songs, certain textures can call up specific emotional states — the sense of calm coziness, for example, that comes from stroking the fur of a cat, or wrapping yourself up in a fleecy blanket. (This past semester my students made fleece blankets that were donated to people living in long term care facilities.)
One blanket was given by my student to a woman because she was always complaining her knees were cold. This is what the student said about the experience;
“I brought the blanket in to her and explained how we had made it in class (she had already known of my major). She was beyond thrilled. She began to cry and said that she had never received such a thoughtful gift. we talked for the next ten minutes, and during that time, she refused to let go of my hand or the blanket. In fact, she clung to the blanket the entire morning, and wouldn’t stop smiling. She did not want to have her picture taken, but she asked if I would extend her gratitude to the class for the wonderful gift. I would like to thank you again for allowing me to take the blanket, because I know that it had such a positive impact on her..”
So there you have it! Keep on petting the yarn…I encourage it 🙂
Hi! This is Stanley. He was my brother’s childhood doll. I don’t know where Stanley came from or why my brother had a doll?? I rescued him from my father’s house years before a fire destroyed everything he had. Stanley now has a permanent home in my studio. My niece thinks he is scary and does not like him. I love Stanley and let me tell you why.
Stanley is not the most beautiful doll in the world. He doesn’t have his original clothes and his hair is vinyl. He has lost some of his eyelashes but his eyes still open and close. So what’s to love you ask. Well he represents a different time in my life and the world. A time when the world was still a little bit innocent and not so violent. There wasn’t all the technology. Certainly there was not as much hustle and bustle. Things were slower and calmer. Family was everything!
We lived in the country and rarely went to town. That meant we had to occupy ourselves. This included me and my two brothers and one sister. We had cats and dogs. Dad had a cow he milked and hunted venison in the winter. We didn’t know it but we were very poor. I remember a neighbor gave us a bag of used clothing and we thought we hit the jackpot. I dug out a brown wool skirt and a tan vest. The zipper in the skirt was broken but I pinned it together. The vest covered it so no one knew. I had a really nice white blouse with a tie and put my pretty A pin on it. I thought I was wearing something really special!
I think this is why I love learning and using the old crafts…spinning, knitting, crocheting. It takes me back to this time when I sat next to my aunt and watched as she magically knit one stitch after another. Soon one row turned into another and before you could believe it she had a sleeve done. I could not wait to open her gift at Christmas time! Inside I knew there would be a new set of hat, mittens and a scarf. We all got a new set every year and proudly wore them to school all winter long.
As I approach the beginning of my retirement I am reminded of this time. I look forward to sitting on my porch or by my coal stove in the studio knitting or hand sewing. It does not matter as long as I can do it by hand. In my occupational therapy class I talk to my students about William Morris. He was credited with founding the Arts & Crafts movement. He felt we were losing perspective as the industrial revolution was becoming more prominent in our lives. He felt as humans we should get back to making things with our hands. Pride in our work made for a healthier individual. I tend to agree with him. I always feel good when I have completed something I made my hand.
What childhood inspirations do you have? I would like to know.
Today I take flight on a new year. It will be one of anticipated change! Change is not easy but I am looking forward to the new year. First, I begin my last semester of teaching at the university and start preparations for the next chapter on my life’s journey. I need to start cleaning house and downsizing!!!! So I decided that I needed to create a new website that I could personally manage. I hope all goes well with that. I am not very technically literate…LOL What to call the website? My original business name was Anita’s Homespun Treasures. Many people found that a mouthful and over the years people and companies dropped the Treasures…For awhile I thought my name should be ALHDesigns…I have always liked the way that sounds. However did that really fit with my identity? Oh what to do? Why should this be such a difficulty thing? Most people know what they want to be called. So after much debate I have decided to put it back to what people knew me as; Anita’s Homespun but I am dropping the treasures.
I will be working on more felting this summer and adding in some classes.
Lots and lots and lots of dyeing! I have so much fiber that needs my attention.
I am so looking forward to creating more fashionable pieces. This is a top I made this past year at a workshop. There is also weaving to be done and let’s not forget about sewing. In high school I made most of my clothes. It will be fun to work with the sewing machine again….Project Anita here I come 🙂
Ok, so off I go now…taking down the tree and need to get ready for the Penn State game later.