Infiltrating Through*

So I knew I wasn’t going to get any art done last night. I had to go get my quilt from the photographer, so I can enter the show today…so here’s the quilt that will hopefully have a name by the time I get home tonight…

It’s about 44×60″. It took 82 hours and 40 minutes to complete, with about half of that in the last week.

It’s about climate change and how we humans negatively affect the universe we live in. Seriously. It’s the universe. We suck.

Although apparently the Humboldt squid will benefit from acid waters and warm oceans. So we’ll have more and bigger of them…I predict all the horror movies of the future will be squids and floods.

Certainly the oceans and wildlife will be affected…they already are.

Bleached coral, dead fish, pollutants in the water as well…we don’t just stop at carbon dioxide and emissions…we forget about how all that affects what we can’t see.

Humans are pretty selfish animals.

You want me to bring politics into it? Stop letting ignorant people make decisions about science…science that it takes many years to study and understand.

Ah yes, and then there’s the plastic trash. Don’t get me started. Take responsibility for your shit, folks. All your shit.

So of course, there’s never a guarantee that anything I make will get into a show. I don’t mind that as much…it will go somewhere, yeah? They always do. And we’re on to the next one. I did finally have an entire quilt draw itself in my head last night. It’s not the next one. It’s not even the next next one. It’s the next next next one, and I won’t be able to show it to you. At all. That’s going to be hard. You know me, I’m constantly posting pictures of everything I’m working on. So yeah, the next three deadlines are now on the table…I have work through June cut out for me. Not actually cut out of fabric though…that would be awesome. 

I did have my stitching meeting last night. This and my general exhaustion from having to be up early every single morning this week meant I got no art done last night. I also didn’t drag my sketchbook out for copying, because we got like an inch and a half of rain (that’s more than our annual since July, by far) yesterday, and I don’t want a wet sketchbook. I’m enlarging today after school. It’s on my calendar. Then I can draw the rest of Head 4 and all of Head 5, which doesn’t exist yet. Then number and start tracing and all that all over again. It’s like I never stop. (I never stop. That’s the tip of the day. Never stop.)

So I worked on these guys for a few hours last night at my stitching meeting instead…

I finished the tree above the giraffe and starting stitching the flowers that are supposed to be on that block. That’s the second block for August…the third is the one to the right of it. 

Then once I was home and my cohort had taken his tired overworked self to bed, I did NOT go to bed, because I was still awake…but I couldn’t deal with real art stuff, so I started sewing stuff down for the October blocks. 

I didn’t get very far…just a veggie patch and part of a hut. The rest is pinned down. I have another block for this month that’s already stitched down…it’s part of the section with the September blocks, all ready for embroidery. After October, I think I have to put the whole thing together, finish all the bits of the road that are wandering about and not connected, and then stitch grass all over the entire quilt. That’s gonna take a while. Then borders. 

Meanwhile, real art tonight. Plus exhaustion. Tomorrow is Christmas shopping at pop-up artsy shops and then an opening. I should grade some shit in there too. I really want to sleep in, but my cohort will be up at 4 AM…I’m less worried about that. I can re-sleep after that. His cat though…man, he’s going to get locked in a bathroom if he’s an asshole tomorrow morning. Seriously. 

OK, but I still gotta get through today…trying to figure out the tail end of this part of the unit, plus feed a bunch of kids, and probably do my duty standing around, guarding the bike rack. Important job. You wish you could do it. (Please come do it for me.)

*Jem, Come on Closer

But Not Right Now

It’s morning. Early. OK. Brain not functioning much…enough to make lunch and breakfast and feed animals and even shower, which includes shampoo and conditioner in that order. At some point during the night, someone (or thing? Creepy) scratched a long red mark on my arm. I don’t remember doing it (Kitten?). Who knows. I do know I didn’t sleep well…second night in the last two weeks when I’ve laid there waiting for sleep to come. Adjusting the body, thinking it’s a comfort thing. Maybe if the position is right, sleep will wander over. Nope! I think most teachers don’t sleep well the night before we go back after a break from school. Running lesson plans over in your head, trying to keep everything straight, remembering your routine, what do I have to do in the morning? That’s me anyway.

The awesome news is that the quilt is done. I can deliver it tomorrow to the photographer and get it back and make the deadline. 

I do have a painful bit on my middle right fingertip at the moment. I remembered a thimble finally (and even found one). I finished both sleeves by 11:30 PM. I don’t have a total time yet…will figure that out tonight, as well as what I might be doing next. I looked up a few deadlines…one is a definite, but I need a size range. The other two are still up in the air. I do have two wool quilts that need quilting…I can work on those until my head figures out the rest. I can draw. I can embroider on the body piece that’s been lying around for years. I can finish that hand applique piece that’s also been lying around for years. Plenty of stuff that pops up when the to-do space empties out.

This was a tense moment. Simba is not always pleased by cat attentions. This one makes him nervous. He loved Midnight, but for some reason, Satchemo is nerve-wracking. 

It was cold, though…they eventually settled, but only briefly.

This guy. I don’t post about him much, but he’s about to start 12 days of work with no break, and I suspect that smile will be gone. He does allow his niece to braid his beard at family gatherings…except for the one time when he had shaved it off…she was so disappointed.

Here’s to mostly tolerant guys who (and I’m quoting an artist’s husband here) put up with the crazy quilters in their lives. It’s gonna be a rough 2 weeks for everyone in this house (well, except the furry beasts and maybe the boychild). I’m looking at early starts every day this week, as all the parent meetings in the world got scheduled this week.

But art. I’m looking forward to maybe just drawing tonight. That would be nice. I think I have to stitch two fish eyeballs on the quilt tonight (OK, it’s not QUITE done). And there’s plenty of school stuff to deal with…always. I think I graded 6 things over break, but I have a ton of lesson planning still left to do. It’s just gonna suck for that stuff for a while, until we get through piloting new curricula. Blech. Not a fan. And I’m not even really piloting this. I keep thinking I should dump it and run for the project-based-learning hills. Next one. Totally not doing the next one. I think. Sigh. I don’t know what I’m doing next. 

OK, well it’s only 3 weeks and then a break again. We can do 3 weeks. But I always have a big project for over break, so I’ll need to figure that out. But not right now.

You Let Your Feet Run Wild*

It’s interesting how short 9 days of vacation feels. Like that’s a good chunk. If I’m driving places and camping and hiking and cooking in 50-mph winds, then it feels like a long time (sorry, just channeling the last trip). But when I sit at home and eat a lot of pretzels and popcorn while running some lame errands and basically make an entire quilt in a week, then it feels like nothing. In the last week, I’ve spent 28 hours making this quilt. In the previous week, a school week, I spent 10 hours making this quilt. So I guess that’s the difference. Close to full-time job (I haven’t done anything today yet…give me time) vs that’s why I don’t sleep much because I do it all after work hours.

Speaking of sleep…I didn’t sleep last night. Seriously I was awake for hours. I don’t know why. Weird though and I feel mostly shattered this morning. Good start.

So the news on the unknown batting is that it worked just fine…a little loftier than what I usually use, but it quilted OK. No bearding, no freaky behavior that I noticed.

I didn’t have enough of the one color of blue thread to do all the outlining and the background quilting, but it did last long enough to do the outlining, so that’s a plus. 

There were a few thread hijinks. I said “You bastard” a lot. IDK whether that’s the thread or the bobbin or the quilt itself. But I said it. In general, though, there were not a lot of issues once I switched out the old needle. 

Although that nest was pretty impressive.


Tiny little eyeballs…

All the stuff that I love about making quilts…

I also made a turkey and mashed potatoes and the family Swiss green bean recipe for dinner…turkey is a little too salty. I didn’t rinse the brine…because one recipe said to rinse it and one didn’t. I should have. But I have turkey for sandwiches for the next two weeks (some in the freezer…don’t panic). I’m happy about that. 

At 5 hours and 45 minutes of quilting, I had finished the outlining. That was before dinner…I think? Maybe? 

I took a break, ate dinner, graded one assignment, and then went back to quilting. At this stage, I need a lot of breaks. My back was hurting. It’s hard to keep going…until you’re close to the end (I almost gave up many times)…then it’s race away until you finish.

Sleepy old lady with her toy…

She’s a good girl.

There’s the whole thing, all squished up for the last bit of quilting the background. 

It was only 8 1/4 hours. Not bad. More than I thought it would be, but that’s OK. Lots of details will do that. So now she’s ready for trimming and binding. I need to go out this morning and buy binding. I will not be going to a big box store for that. Still avoiding JoAnns. She goes to the photographer on Tuesday, so that’s enough time for me to hopefully get the binding and sleeves on and dehair the beast, as well as deal with all the school stuff that needs to be done by Monday (yikes!). And then? I have no idea what I’m working on next. I’m sure there’s a list somewhere, but I haven’t looked at it in months. Maybe something short and fun? Or another deadline. Who knows? Someone should figure that out.

*Kaleo, Way Down We Go

Better Than Pie

Things that keep me up at night: wait. Happy Thanksgiving first. Happy day of eating and family and friends and eating and maybe football or whatever. And sleeping and drinking and avoiding political discussions like the plague.

Things that keep me up at night: my kids. Seriously. They do. Where they are and whether they will survive. Also worrying about whether or not I have enough batting to quilt the damn quilt that is trying to get done. Because today is a freakin’ holiday, duh, and I should have checked that yesterday and gone out and bought batting if I didn’t have enough, because I’m probably going to get to the sandwich stage today and delaying until tomorrow to wait for the store to open (on Black Fucking Friday, oh god) and then buying it and washing it and drying it and THEN sandwiching, and I’ve lost half the day right there.

Damn. Well. I should check now if I have enough, because maybe all that worry is beside the point. I should have maybe gotten out of bed at 3 AM when the rain woke me up (ah beautiful rain, thank you for existing) and done it then.

So the answer is sort of. I have lots of long narrow pieces of Warm and Natural, which is what I prefer to quilt with. I just checked JoAnns hours and they’re really not open today. Tomorrow at 6 AM. Which implies sales and crazy-ass people lining up like loons. So back to the sort of answer. I have a batting remnant that IS big enough…I just don’t know what it is. I used to take classes way back in the day and they would recommend batting types and I would try them out, but I love the W&N because it sticks and I don’t have to quilt super close together and it’s not super lofty. This is not W&N. It might be bamboo, because I remember someone saying how wonderful it was for wall hangings and maybe I bought a small one, and if I did, then I used a piece of it for a smaller quilt, because there is a piece gone. No labeling at all, of course.

On January 10, 2014, I also pulled this piece of batting out (yes, I’m mining the blog for answers to my brain right now)…and I chickened out and didn’t use it, because unknown results! I hate unknown results when I’m on a deadline. It has a weird edge, plus a scrim or something inside it.

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OK, I officially skimmed the entire blog for mentions of random batting (I talk about batting a lot), and there’s nothing. I also checked for the word “bamboo”, but apparently I use the word “bamboozled” a lot, so that was unhelpful. So I’m gonna use it. Seize the day! Even if it might fuck up everything! Of course, I’m not actually ready for it yet. Plus, it’s batting. How bad could it be?

Yesterday, I rolled up the bottom bit and put it aside for a while so I could deal with the head and resultant plumes from that area…

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Head start. Ah ha ha ha.

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Plume to the right is done…plume to the left is started…

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Working on a net full of fish…

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And a boat…most of the plume is done here.

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I did eventually find all the eyeball parts that were missing, but never found the fish part, so I had to recut it. I also found a missing tree part from the 200s…so I inserted that as well. No waste! Well. There’s waste.

And ironed her down…before dinner even. It was a productive day. For art quiltmaking. Not for life in general. It took 13 hours and 46 minutes to iron her together. Not bad.

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She’s ready for stitch down. But first some grading…two assignments down and input into the system, plus a sleepy puppy. And I brined a turkey and hard-boiled a bunch of eggs. But that was earlier. I even put a bra on and went to the store, where I forgot the Miracle Whip but remembered more cheese.

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Cheese is always good. Turkey is in the fridge in the mop bucket. It’s clean (plus it’s in a plastic bag for the paranoid among us). Then I started stitch down. No wasting time! Must finish!

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I got a good 2-hour chunk of it done. My goal is to finish the stitch down before I have to be presentable for social interactions with other humans.

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Besides the two antisocial beasts I live with. You know. They ignore me anyway. Oh, I made deviled eggs this morning. Because I wanted them. So there. Tomorrow I will make turkey and some other stuff so I can have turkey sandwiches for a couple of weeks (I freeze it…don’t panic). But today, I stitch down and hopefully sandwich and pinbaste and maybe even start quilting, if the tryptophan doesn’t kill me. That’s the goal anyway. Better than pie. Well. Pie is pretty good if it’s apple pie.

Not Sold on That…

Seventeen things on the list for yesterday. I think 5 got done. Not bad. Love the kid who is currently complaining that I haven’t finished grading her late work yet. Nah, I’m doing the on-time work first…all 8 assignments of it. Strangely, every time I finish a task, it seems two more jump up to take its place. I need to be serious about ironing today though…so maybe I do that first. I know from experience, though, that if I do that, I rarely get anything else done. Sigh. Quilt must get done. Grading must get done.

I just read my blog from last year’s Thanksgiving week, and I’m not going to Costco today. I did it last year on this day. It will be hell. It was hell. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe I’ll do a drive-by. We need toilet paper. But not that bad.

Calli wants something here. You can tell by the way she’s looking at me.

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So I ran errands and graded on and off, and then I went to the gym, so the day just sort of slips by. And then I made dinner, but at some point, I started ironing a coyote together. I think it was pretty late, actually. Like after 9 PM.

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I got the hill done behind her…well, not all of it. There’s more on the right. I just decided it would be easier to iron some leg parts in there first.

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Coyote landscape. Fire. Yeah, I drew this before all the fires last week. California fire season…

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Unfortunately inevitable…but not that bad. Not as bad as it was this year.

The other bird. A hill…

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And then I started ironing legs. Up to the knees…actually, I think I got up to the hip on one side, and then realized I hadn’t cut out the other side. I have no idea how that happened.

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Kitten is surveying it all…this was bedtime. After midnight.

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That’s why I’m tired. I go to bed late and then people and animals are up early, and it’s hard to sleep. But late at night is when I get a lot done.

Today I will iron. I will grade one assignment. I will go pick up my quilts. I might take the car in for an oil change. I might go to Costco. But I’m not sold on those two at all.

To Arizona and Back Again…

We’re back. Quick trip. More driving than anything else, I think. It was worth it…I wanted to see the whole Things That Matter exhibit in one place…although now I think I might be able to see it in St. George as well! On the way to Zion for Spring Break anyway. We’ll see.

So I had some pieces left to cut…my plan was to cut in the car, so I set this up…double-boxed. I’ve done this before. It’s a little crazy, but it works.

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Arizona is so flat. This might even be the flat part of California.

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Cutting while not driving…

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We try to do 2-hour shifts…after that, you need a break. This section was pretty, through the Sonoran Desert National Monument. It was the short way around Phoenix to get to Chandler. We never went into Phoenix.

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So we went to see the official opening of the entire exhibit of Things That Matter, an exhibit I was invited to be in last year. The preview exhibition, which didn’t include all the work, was at Visions Art Museum in Spring. I really thought I had done a good job of taking photos at that exhibit, but it turns out I didn’t take hardly any…and this trip was no different. Honestly, my phone camera sucks for this stuff, and the sun was going down and causing issues with lighting. So go see the exhibit or get the catalog on Amazon. Because I suck.

But here is Virginia Spiegel’s Boundary Waters 90 on the left and Pamela Blotner’s Miss Pustelschwein Regrets, a fascinating piece.

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Deidre AdamsConnections and Susan T. Avila’s Time to Relax, which needs a front view to see the words.

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My piece Not Less Than, with Rachel MeginnesDon’t Tell Me It’s Raining, then Catherine Kleeman’s Clean Water and Linda Colsh’s And the Deep River Ran On, on the other wall.

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Paula Chung’s PTSD: Betrayal…amazing stitching in this piece.

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Betty Busby’s Let Your Light Shine

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And another view of my piece that includes Susan Else’s amazing and terrifying When? on gun violence in schools, and Alice Beasley’s very cool From Russia With Love.

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Obligatory photo with my piece…

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Elena StokesHorizon XII-Peace and Quiet

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And another Blotner piece, this with Elizabeth AddisonHanuman’s Journey.

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Please remind me if I go to the St. George installation to take WAY BETTER PHOTOS. Sheesh. And all the pieces. Seriously.

So then we ate and went back to the room and I finished cutting out the quilt pieces. California, Massachusetts, California, Arizona. Impressive.

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It took 13 1/2 hours total. Kind of long.

Back in the room, interesting accent wall, especially this bit, which is totally out of reach, even if you’re standing on the bed.

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But don’t hang anything on it with a coat hanger. Warning noted.

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I drew…this is a baby start for something that’s in my head and is much bigger and fancier. Or more detailed anyway.

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I haven’t been drawing much lately. Need to work on that.

The next morning, after a solid American breakfast, we drove back.

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There was crankiness. Sigh. 10 hours of driving does that. I finished the owl’s eyes though! And the giraffe, but I forgot to photograph him. I still need to finish the hut for that block to be done.

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Now that I’m home and ready to work on the quilt that has to be done in like 7 days, the wool stitching is not really a priority. So yesterday afternoon, I sorted all the pieces…

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Less than an hour for that…

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And then I started ironing…a snake before dinner…

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Then the landscaping starts…hard to do because the water goes over and under the feet, and the water is in the 0-100s box and the feet are in the 400s box, so there was searching and I lost a toe so I had to recut it.

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Then a couple of birds went together…

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And the background behind them…

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Here’s where I’m at so far, with about 150 pieces ironed…well, more because of the toes.

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There’s a hill behind the legs, or two hills really, that have to be done, and another bird in the sky. My goal today is first to bang out the 17 errands I need to do, and then iron until the cows come home. Except also go to the gym, make dinner, and grade at least one assignment. Not a small list. But I’m glad to be ironing. It would be good if I were done with ironing sometime tomorrow and then stitching down. I think I need to be quilting by Wednesday. Seriously. You think I’m joking. I’m not. But first, groceries. There’s no food here. Can’t sustain artistic focus without food.

Magic Wand

Hello Halloween…on the one hand, I love dressing up (I’m Dr. Nefario from Despicable Me this year, while surrounded by minions)…my catch phrase is “Do you want to exPLOOOODE?”. Which seems relevant. Tomorrow, we take 260 kids to the zoo, so they can run off their sugar highs from tonight. Hopefully I survive until Friday, because I still have grading to finish. And a quilt.

Yesterday, I worked for a million hours. Got home around 6 PM and kept working…I still have kids trying to give me field trip money, even though the list is done and emailed. I’m done. No more crazy this week (ha. never say no more.)

It was after 10:30 when I made it in here. The first 100 pieces are taking me FOREVER to cut out. Mostly because there’s these tiny little animals in there. So I need to find these fussy little fabrics for them. Although this is water…

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Water is fun. I’ve spent about 2 1/2 hours and I’m only in the 80s. Seriously crazy. It probably doesn’t help that I’m tired and stressed out. Here’s the fabrics piled up as I was trying to pick a bird brown that would show up against the sand brown.

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Then I mostly organized them and went to bed.

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Sometimes that’s all you can do. Tonight is candy for the three small children who come to our door, plus my parents are finally coming back after 7 weeks. I think Katie doesn’t believe they’re ever coming back, so she’ll be excited to see them. Much as we love her, she is a needy beast and the noisiest of the three dogs…well, maybe Simba is the noisiest, but he’s also the smallest.

OK, I have to be trained on epi-pens today. Again. Need to finish bus and chaperone lists. Need to find a magic wand and erase the noise and chaos from my head. That last one seems the most important.