Not Much & Everything

I’m popping in to say…well…not much. I just want to post. To touch base here on my blog, to any and all who might be visiting. To say life is grand when making things is heading in directions you love. To say that even when life isn’t so grand, making things makes it more tolerable, adds joy, soothes the rough edges. I’d like to blog more often… just to make it a habit, to touch base, to be present here as I am ever so full in my heart with many things I am making, many things I want to make, and many things I may never have the time or resources to make.

On the other hand, I feel I have so much to say. Not today perhaps. But so much is bubbling and brewing, percolating and stewing. It may not come to any sort of viable, sellable product. This bothers me. I wish it didn’t. I hold at bay a nagging thought that plagues me nearly daily – “What is all of this for Jen?” To what end are you spinning fiber with drop spindles? Isn’t this a kind of fool’s errand? To what end are you weaving segments of cloth, one after the other? Will you sell them? Will selling them make it all feel “worth it”? Is there some other creativity, some other medium, some other thing that will give you that sense that Ahhhh THIS! THIS is the thing! With everything I set my hands to, I have a sense that it is indeed the THING! And with everything I make, I have a nagging sense that it isn’t. How can that be?

In every creative act there exists simultaneously a sense of fulfillment and futility. I’m learning to let this be. To just go with it, make space for them both to exist in the atmosphere of my making world. I’m learning to ride the waves of creativity wherever they take me, whether it is to shores of selling or islands of learning new things or into deeper waters of what I already love to make.

‘Til tomorrow then…

Jennifer

A Making “Retreat”

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Hold onto your hat and grab a cup of tea…this post is long. Not in words so much as in pictures! Lots of photos documenting last week, the week in-between Christmas week and back-to-school week. I decided to declare it a Making Retreat Week. Well, the retreat part was really just imaginary. I wanted to imagine that I was off on a retreat somewhere to work on several unfinished projects. Some of them began many years ago. Some I started in December. My oldest daughter joined in the fun to start an amazing quilt, her first attempt at quilting! We had such a great week together, holed up in Genevieve’s Workshop, making things. We chatted and listened to music as the sewing machine whirred, the needles clicked, and the iron hissed. Wonderful memories were made, along with so many crafty projects:

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**New Year Bunting! I had begun this crocheted star bunting back in December to try to have in time for Christmas. Good thing the colors are for anytime, as it did not get finished until this Making Retreat Week. I also added lights all around the room! This is something I have wanted for several years in my sunroom studio!! So cheery and inviting in the wee hours of morning and during the evening darkness. With the added light to the room, Catherine and I could stay up working until late hours, which is unusual for me. But during Retreat Week, we stayed up until midnight a couple of times, working away on our projects!

Catie'sQuiltFabric

Catie'sQuiltBlock

Catie'sQuilt

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**Her quilt. Oh my does she have the natural knack for quilting or what?? Crazy beautiful color combinations, attention to corners and details…wow. I loved watching these quilt blocks unfold. She now has 11 of them. She also finished knitting a scarf and making two bow ties (not pictured here)! She’s a making wonder!

StarGarland

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**And with the bunting idea, I also made a little star garland for our mantel. I was so sad to have Christmas decorations gone, that I think I was trying to make things look as festive, just without the red and green stuff. 🙂 [BTW…that cute stuffed cat was made by Maddie last year as a gift for me! I love it so!] {And another BTW…these little stars are another Lucy of Attic 24 pattern. I love all her tutorials!}

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MyNewBoots**I finished Snowflake Sweater. If you missed the post on that, you can read about it here.  I’ve been loving wearing it as we have had really cold temps around here! And I’ve enjoyed wearing these amazing boots my mom gave me at Christmas, with my knitted socks! Winter is a knitter’s favorite season!

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**I put finishing touches on a shawl I had worked on all fall. Though I had finished the knitting earlier, I took time this week to add the little details and weave in the ends. I’ve been calling it Cream Confection. There is no pattern for this (except in my head:). It’s just a rectangle of various knitted stitches and yarns I had accumulated in the white/cream family of colors. I love all the textures!

TwiggyTree

**My. Twiggy. Tree. I have been dreaming of making a Twig Tree for at least two years now. Finally. I did it! Using a lovely planter a friend gave me, I shaped a block of styrofoam to fit down in it. My husband had trimmed a branch or two off of our plum tree out front, so I cut off a limb, spray painted it white, and stuck it down in the styrofoam. Then I made little ornaments for winter: snowflakes (another Lucy of Attic 24 tutorial that I tweaked a bit), a few birds (my own pattern I’ll share with you someday!), and some other little baubles. This sits in our dining room, adding a festive touch there as well!! My plans are to change out the ornaments for each season/holiday as it comes along this year! Should be fun!

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Mom'sQuilt&Lucy

**And finally, my own bit of quilting. This lovely quilt was made by my mom many years ago from fabrics she had used to sew my dresses when I was a little girl. I absolutely LOVE the colors!! She had hand-quilted 3 of the blocks and stopped. So it needed to be bound around the edges and for the remaining blocks to be quilted.  At week’s end, I had bound the edges, quilted the long perpendicular strips of fabric, and one of the remaining squares, but it has a lot to go yet! I’m determined not to stick it back into the bag I’ve stored it in all these years!! I want it for our bed, and so I will try to finish it soon!! Or…maybe just enjoy it as is!! That’s likely what I’ll do! (Note: my friend Ellen told me that this is called the Churn Dash pattern. Very cool!)

StudioLove

On the last day of our Making Retreat Week, I woke early to come downstairs and begin to work. When I got there, Catherine was already working! I wondered if we were going to need some intervention to peel us away from our cozy crafty room. But no…life is intervention enough! What an amazing week it was to devote as much time to making as we could! Even though I still had laundry, dinner making, errand running, etc, it was lovely to set aside times each day for making things. And I think Lucy loved us being in there also, especially when we sat down so she could curl up in our laps with a quilt or some yarn.

Thanks for hanging in there with me for this post! I truly should’ve made several individual posts about each thing! I’m sure it would’ve been easier on your eyes and time!!