Less Cottony

Dear all my youngish neighbors with your little children who have now all installed really bright motion-sensor lights: Do you know that things that MOVE make your lights go on ALL NIGHT LONG…on the other side of the house, where you don’t even know about it, and the things that MOVE are animals, birds, and trees, sometimes bats. Seriously, the wind makes your stupid lights go on and you don’t really NEED them because you’re not out there in your side yard checking out what’s setting them off, BUT THEY ALL SHINE IN MY HOUSE. EVERY DAMN ONE OF THEM. Plus the damn fairy light strings everywhere. Yes, they are nice and pretty, but they don’t need to be on all night. I think they’re still on now and it’s broad daylight. Have you never heard of light pollution?

I hear my parents have a BB gun.

Yes, I am the crazy old lady neighbor. But seriously. So much lighting of spaces where there are no peoples.

Hey, well, it’s Thursday. Somehow I got off my every-other-day schedule and am trying to write on the days when I don’t normally write. Today is a staff meeting day AND a lab day, so this will be hopefully quick. What have I been doing? Well, working on a quilt, of course. And I needed to dye some old quilt blocks for the background of this one.

So I don’t know about you, but I have all the dye supplies ready to go in the cupboard, and can start a small dye job at 9:38 PM on a school night. I don’t usually do this, but it worked. I picked some of the old (really old, because I got them on Etsy a million years ago, but they aren’t in that great condition) blocks and tossed them in a mix of dyes that I thought would approximate the background fabric I already had picked. Left them for 24 hours and got this…

What’s funny about this is when I did the first rinse out of the dye bath, they all were that purply blue color…and by the time they got out of the washing machine, you can see that three were less cottony than I thought. OK. And I’m not sure the one on the bottom left will work…I don’t really want anything that has a lot of contrast. The 5 that worked are probably not enough (although they could be?) so I will probably try again. I did get the subtle changes that I wanted in about half of them, so that’s a success. Sort of.

Then I’ve been picking fabrics for an hour or so each night…

I find it really difficult to stop, actually. I just want to keep ironing. But I need to stick to my earlier bedtime, even though I don’t seem to be falling asleep much earlier. I’m sure I’m getting a little more? Maybe.

I’m averaging about 10-11 hours of artmaking a week at the moment…

That’s much better than the month of March, when I did a lot of nothing on art quilts. No sewing machine? I guess it was an issue. Plus overwork and exhaustion. Now I’m using the art to distract myself from isolation. But it’s also the artwork…and I love that normally. It’s not that I don’t love it now…it just isn’t giving me the same hit as usual.

I’ve been ironing for over 4 hours and I only have 200 pieces ironed down. Not super fast, y’all. There are a lot of fussy little decisions in the stuff on the Earth in this piece. Lots of overlapping colors and bits that require thought.

I finished appliqueing all the bits down to the April Homegrown blocks during one book club this week…

On to May. During the second book club (yes, I did that this week. Nights are deadly empty time.), I drew my Patreon drawing for the month…

And posted it. Talk about multitasking. I do it all the time. It works for me. I know it doesn’t work for some people. Certainly things like sewing and drawing occupy a different part of my mind than the meeting part. So it works. It’s not as effective during staff meetings, when I actually work on schoolwork through them. Those are overlapping parts of the brain and it means I sometimes miss stuff, but since 3/4s of what they talk about right now in staff meetings doesn’t apply to distance learning, I don’t really fucking care. I ask my team when I miss stuff.

I created that slide deck during the last staff meeting for the lab we did this week. And that calendar thing is so true at the moment.

I don’t even deal with one day. It’s sections of days. Morning. Afternoon. Evening. Night. Rinse. Repeat.

Here’s the lab we actually did…cellular respiration…

I have to do it one more time, today. It’s a pain in the butt, but it helps them think about the different types of food. Although then they think that sugar and food are the same thing. Not quite. I’m having a hard time getting a good chunk of them to listen at the moment. Normally, this is almost where we start sex ed and I have their full attention. I think this year will be harder at the end. I guess I will just roll with it. I don’t have control over so much of what goes on with their home lives, their attention spans, and their Wifi.

These two are sweet.

When Luna is not rampaging.

OK, hours of Zooming today followed hopefully by a good long walk and an already made dinner. Then more ironing. I think. Maybe I’ll get through more than 100 pieces in one night.

It’s Over

Spring Break, that is. Every year, the end comes with a depressing wail of remembrance of the last X weeks of school, with a realization that you got almost nothing done that was on your list, and that sleep will elude you for months now. Seriously, even though I went in to my classroom yesterday to make sure everything was OK (it wasn’t…and not by my own fault), and I know I have everything copied and planned pretty much for the next four weeks, I still woke up early, completely wired, stressed out, sure I’d forgotten something.

And the fact is, I probably have. So what. I got this.

I’m ahead of the game on the two quilts I wanted to work on over break. I have three assignments I still need to grade. So I’ll do that this week. Somehow. I’m doing OK. The world isn’t going to end because I’m back in school. Hopefully.

So I went shopping Saturday morning for binding fabric for the Ventura quilt. I laid it out on the floor of the quilt shop, which I could do with gay abandon, because there’s no politics, nudity, or violence in this quilt, per Ventura’s guidelines. Y’all realize this is for a juried show that I might not even get juried into, whatever, I did it anyway and someone will show it. Because it’s pretty and has no nudity or violence or politics. Unlike most of my stuff.

When a quilter has to buy “just one piece of fabric,” y’all know how that goes. In fact the binding was the most mellow of all the fabrics I bought…

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On the left, you can see the back of the quilt that needs the binding. At the top, you can see the one I need to stitch down sometime this week.

I spent a couple of hours cutting and sewing on the binding by machine and then pinning it all down…

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It’s about 29 feet of binding and sleeves that I now need to sew down by hand. It’s OK. I’ve got plenty to watch on Tivo. And it’s kind of relaxing to do that anyway. Except for all the pins sticking you. Here’s where 17 people pop in and tell me I should sew my bindings completely by machine (I don’t like how it looks…I’ve done it) or fuse them (same deal) or leave them off altogether (eh). I still follow the rules for some parts of the quilting process (that should stymie my counselor some…she’s convinced my sole purpose in life is to break the rules, and yet, I break so few of them). Anyway. She’ll be done this month easily. The quilt…not my counselor. She’s got tons of work left to do.

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That’s a lot of pins. And sleeves. I put sleeves on the top and bottom on big quilts…the weight of a slat or dowel in the bottom sleeve helps it hang better. I’ve finally got myself trained to do that automatically. It took a year, I think, to get to that point.

Good Kathy.

Then I looked at the clock and ran through the things that were next on my list. I need a couple of drawings to get done, both for possible juried shows. I have a lot of binding to do (obviously) and that other quilt needs to be stitched down, which I didn’t feel like doing last night. So I cut out a piece of paper for one of the drawings (it has to be a specific size). And then I left it in the other room, because trying to draw straight lines to make a box in which to draw sounded like hard work (it was after 10 PM at that point…give me a break). So I had a small drawing that needed to be made into a larger, more complicated drawing, one of two for a show I’d like to be in (jury!), so I sat down with the smaller drawing out and ready, and started making it bigger…

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Obviously, I still have some work to do (and actually, I ran off the bottom of the page, which will be an issue at some point). There will be two figures in this piece, so I have to draw the other one as well, and then copy them and try to fit them together correctly. Sounds like a project for this week (wait a minute…I will probably be brain dead most of this week…maybe not the best choice). I also have two other drawings that I might enlarge and start numbering/tracing. I have deadlines all over the summer…usually they don’t come until late August/early September. Not so this year. It’s not like I was going anywhere anyway. Hiking maybe. Camping maybe. An opening in LA. That’s about it.

One of the (many) things I didn’t get done over break was dying fabric (and socks)…

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It’s all sitting here waiting for me. Plus a box from Dharma is in the living room. I could pull this off on a Saturday morning sometime, but National Cup soccer starts this weekend, so it could be a while. Oh well. I got to hang out with my Belgian sister, I did two hikes, I finished (pretty much) one quilt and got significantly into the next one. College decisions happened (mostly…because nothing is ever set in stone here), I made it through the boychild’s taxes and his FAFSA (one more financial aid application to go). I listened to music and watched movies and read books and got a tiny bit of the yardwork and cleaning done that was supposed to happen. Same with the grading…a small portion was completed. I wouldn’t be Kathy if I were caught up on grading after a vacation.

The rest will come. I’ll figure it out. Back to reality. (More caffeine please. Brain still not online.)