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!

17 comments:

  1. Good to *see* you again. My sewing mojo has been on hiatus lately also. I've been knitting some, but not nearly at the pace you have been. Just several hats and scarves. I'm hoping the sewing bug flies back home soon. I miss it, but not enough to push it.

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  2. Love those bags! As for knitting I am in awe of prolific knitters of such beautiful things as your shawl. It takes me years to finish one thing.

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  3. Welcome back, Dixie! All of your makes are beautiful! I've been taken by the obsessive knitting bug, too, though not in recent years. It's funny how you knit through the summer and are now sewing in winter. It generally gets me in the opposite direction. ;)

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  4. Great to hear from you again - I enjoy reading you blog and am pleased that you are now all 'mojo'd' up! Lovely bags, and you can't beat a pair of handknitted socks!

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  5. It may sometimes be a long wait between your posts, but the eye candy you show is SO satisfying that it's worth the wait!

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  6. Glad to see you back, Dixie! Missed you. Your makes are all fabulous of course. Look! Damselflies!

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  7. I think my sewing mojo met up with yours and they took a vaca together! I lost mine about the same time as you, and it is just starting to return. I also did some knitting and some art, but had no real motivation for anything. I guess we just need to go with the flow and wait until it all returns. I love your bags, and that first one would go great with my coloring!!!...Anna

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  8. So glad to have you back! I agree, you cannot force creativity, it is either there or it's not. However, there is the practice that writers use to schedule time at the keyboard every day. This is something I may try to work on, probably won't work, but whatever.

    Love the bags and I am looking forward to seeing your jackets! ♥

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  9. I have been thinking about you...and here you are!! So nice to hear from you, and to see the beautiful work which came from your hands and heart.

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  10. Dixie, you've been missed! So happy to see you back in blogland and the mojo re-fueled!

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  11. Thanks to each of you for your kind words. I missed you and am grateful you choose to follow my blog!

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  12. Great to see more of your wonderful creations. Your artistic flair is lovely. Thanks for commenting on my blog. I must say that I have total envy that you work for Sawyer Brook Fabrics. Colour me green! Dilliander (from Pattern Review) also bought the Eco Tourist. It will be great to see what she makes in it. I do love the fabric - as I said - my expectations of weight of it could well be my lack of knowledge of fabrics. It is lovely though.

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    1. Working at Sawyer Brook is a great job for creative types. We have lots of fun talking about and sharing what we're working on in our sewing rooms. The creative juice is always flowing there!

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  13. just found you through Getting Stitched on the Farm's blog; good timing, eh? I love those bags. I've done some silk-screening in the far distant past, but not on fabric. And I have plenty of fabrics . . . great blog, by the way. I love your shawls, too. And the socks. ~ Linne

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  14. Linne, thanks so much for your comments and for visiting my site. I love making new connections through blogs!

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