Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Muddling along

Do you get Leonard Pitts Jr.'s column in your local newspaper? It is always a good read. I wish I could express myself the way he does, because I almost always relate to what he has to say. Here is his latest column and it is exactly, exactly how I feel. I've talked about this before, so I won't go into it, but when will people understand that some of us do our best work alone? First this week I heard about Google's new policy about not allowing anyone to work from home, then I heard Cheryl Sandberg interviewed on NPR this week. She is also on the cover of Time magazine this week. She is the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook and has a new book out urging women to embrace success in business. I like that idea, but on the interview she said something like, "welcome to Facebook. You can see we all work in one big room, with no partitions, no offices. We are committed to teamwork..." I couldn't work there. Luckily I don't have to. I have my little studio where I can work by myself, which is all I have ever wanted.

It has been a pretty busy week so far and I have spent a lot of time not by myself, which is good. After all, I love my friends, I don't hate people, I just need some alone time! I went to Sofia's school today and did the Art lesson on the art of the South Pacific Islands. The kids made masks based on the masks of the tribes of Papua New Guinea. It was my favorite lesson so far. Here is Sofia with her mask, in progress. They all did such a great job and really seemed to like the project.

As I was leaving after cleaning up and packing up I discovered one of the little boys from the class sitting with a volunteer Mom out in the hallway, working, with great concentration, on his mask. "He was having trouble focusing with all the other kids," the Mom explained, "he felt like he could work better alone." Wow! I can so relate.

I did manage to get a little solitary quilting in this afternoon. I thought I'd show this.

My plan was to quilt straight lines, on the diagonal in the pavement area. I am doing free motion quilting and have learned that careful as you may be about quilting pretty straight lines, it is easy, especially with diagonal quilting for the angle to begin to slowly change as you move across the space. So I put these strips of blue masking tape along the area to be quilted to help me keep that angle consistent. I don't necessarily stitch right next to the tape, but it is a visual guide that keeps me headed in the right direction. Here it is with some of the quilting done.

And, by the way, this is one of my favorite quilting textures—diagonal lines quilted across horizontal lines. It is a really simple way to express a horizontal plane with depth.


  1. Sofia is so cute. I too can relate to alone time. I crave it and get really grumpy if I cannot escape for a bit. I think masking tape is one of my favorite tools. Have a wonderful time in the studio. (I keep thinking about Ray's greenhouse and how much fun he must be having there. Yes, envious for sure!)

  2. I'm with you and your young boy student. Since I've been widowed each year I find it harder to concentrate when in a classroom. I almost never accomplish much at Empty Spools, but I store up all the lessons to try at home when I am alone. Guess that is the good and bad of living alone.

  3. "Teamwork" ? - more like endless interruptions, chats and distractions. I've been in those environments....not for me....

  4. I often wonder how you keep your lines so straight. I want to learn to do that. I know that sounds dumb to a pro. I get that you are just using the blue tape as a guide, but does your first line need to go right next to the tape? It would not hurt my feelings if you were to post a mini tutorial on free motion quilting straight lines.

    I love Leonard Pitts. I agree with most of his views, but always enjoy the column whether I agree or not. And truth be told, solitude is sort of my drug of choice.

  5. First of all... I love my solitary time in my sewing room. I get what you mean. My brain functions without others around.
    Secondly, the diagonal stitching on the horizontal stripes is such a good tip. I get that, too.
    The other day you mentioned that you back your quilts on less expensive fabric. I wish you could have heard the sigh of relief from me... because I do that!!!
    Wish we lived closer together. We could enjoy solitude together every now and then.
    Again, thank you so very much for your wonderful blog.
    Hugs from Mary

  6. I love attending meetings about things I am involved in like quilting guilds or writing discussion groups. But like you, I much prefer to do the actual work alone. I'm not anti-social, I just work best on my own. Thanks for the link to the article, I enjoyed it.

  7. Your note about horizontal lines crossed by diagonals reminds me of what the Renaissance art teacher said about all those black and white checked floors in Renaissance paintings. It was not that everyone in the 14th/15th century lived and wandered around plazas that had checked tiles underfoot; it was that that was the easiest way to get perspective and heights of figures correct:-)
    .Nice work,

  8. Teamwork is essential in so many things we do but, like you, I am most productive and comfortable when I have my quiet time. It helps me help me to deal with the extraneous.

  9. Teamwork is great to decide a project strategy, provide input on ideas, or divvy up tasks. My own actual work product is actually best done all by myself.

    Every time I take a sewing class, I am chit-chatting away the whole time and get little accomplished. If I'm WITH people, I want to interact with them - see what they're doing, what they think about the class, etc etc. If I take the materials home, I can concentrate and do the work.

    I sure like how your quilt is coming along.

  10. Yes yes! and lovely diagonal stitching too....