I hung my quilt on the barn to take a picture of it, but it wouldn’t stay still. First me, and now you’re dancing with the wind, I thought.
It did quiet down long enough for me and Jon to get some pictures. But then the animals arrived, Zinnia, Fate and Zip, even the sheep showed up at the gate.
This quilt demanded to be made. When I saw the scraps left on my studio floor after cleaning up my studio, the only thing I could imagine doing next was sewing them together.
And it was a dance, me guiding the dragonflies out of their comfort zone (pushing me out of mine). Away from the soft browns and reds to something unexpected.
That’s where the flour sack fabric came in. It’s from actual flour sacks that women used to make dresses, curtains and pillows with after the flour was gone. The flour companies purposefully printed the sacks with color patterns.
But I didn’t want to leave it there. There is calico from the 1970s along with contemporary fabric.
I felt my creativity reach and sing, as well as dance as I pieced together this quilt.
Dancing With The Dragonflies is 75″x89″ and is $450 + $20 shipping. You can buy it in my Etsy Shop, just click here. Or you can email me at [email protected]. I take checks, PayPal and Venmo.
You can follow my process as I made Dancing With The Dragonflies, here.
I had no trouble naming this quilt. It came to me with the same ease that made me know I had to make it.
I thought it might be one of the quilts that I would make for Linda. But her plans changed and I’ll be making less quilts for her than I thought. And this quilt isn’t right for the couple I will be making a quilt, this size for. That one will have solid colors and geometric patterns if any.
So Dancing With The Dragonflies will be for sale once I finish it. It’s about 75″x90″ and will be $450 + shipping.
And I’m close to getting it done. I completed the design of the front of it today.
That red and blue fabric on the bottom is a Colonial Revival print from the 1970s. And did I have fun finishing off the top of the quilt.
I was thinking about the name and how it just came to me.
My friend Emily gave me that dragonfly a few years ago. I used some of it to make potholders, and had these last scraps for a while. That middle square came together easily, the dance came when I wanted to bring the dragonflies and the surrounding colors to an unexpected place.
And I feel like I did that, using a wide range of vintage and contemporary fabrics.
This quilt feels like dancing to me.
Not dancing alone, but in the way I have learned to Bellydance. A collaboration, a give and take, and back and forth. And of course improv, working with what you have and moving things around to make something beautiful.
It’s been two weeks since I’ve worked in my studio. I always wonder a bit if I’ll be able to do it again when I’m away so long.
I had plans.
Linda asked if I could make her a few quilts for Christmas Gifts. I’ve made quilts and pillows for Linda before. I like working with her.
I had a dream about the colors I would use on the first one. They came in the form of a thin weaving that someone had made and was showing me. Mustard, black, red and light blue. A good place to start.
But Monday I was in my studio cleaning up and I when I was done I was left with a pile of scraps. I didn’t think about it, I just started sewing. It felt right so I went with it.
But when I got done, the dragonflies seemed stuffy to me, stuck in Victorian colors. I wanted to free them so I found the blue fabric with pink and red, an old flour sack from the collection of flour sack fabric that Susan gave to me.
It seemed the antithesis of square I had pieced together.
And then the collage pieces, the most contemporary fabric of it all, yet it fit right in with the dragonfly patch and the 1930s flour sacks.
That was as far as I got yesterday, but I kept at it today.
It felt so good to be back in my studio working. And I mixed those fabric’s up to make a statement of how compatible contrary can be and to catch and keep the eye looking.
And when every piece of fabric I laid down on the floor next the quilt started to look like a circus, I went with solid brown.
And that’s where I left it tonight. I can’t wait to get back in my studio tomorrow and see what happens next.
I made two batches of Spirit Owl Potholders, but only had three still available to post for sale in my Etsy Shop. That makes me happy it means they spoke to a lot of people. I also got my second order of Zip Magnets so I had some preorders on those to fill. When I was done I boxed up my quilt Dancing With The Dragonflies which I will send off to its new home tomorrow.
After that it was the dreaded paperwork. I really don’t mind it much once I’m doing it. It’s the thought of it that keeps me away. I’d just rather being doing something else.
But my October and November receipts were in a messy pile and needed to be sorted and recorded. I I can only put it off for so long before it starts to nag at me.
It feels good to get all that work done and now I can look forward to getting back to my studio on Monday.
I came home from the Vermont Fiber Mill three weeks ago with 104 skeins of dyed and natural wool and 120 oz of roving. I sold out of the yarn last week and today I put the last pack of Bedlam Farm Dryer Balls in the mail.
It goes without saying, that I couldn’t have done it without you all.
I appreciate how you follow my blog and have gotten to know my sheep enough to want to use their wool to create with. I love getting your photos of the socks, slippers, sweaters, gloves, scarves and blankets you have made. And I love posting them on my blog.
It’s a completely creative circle from my sheep to your creation.
This year’s wool was special for me in another way too.
I have written often of how my art reveals things about myself that I wasn’t aware of. This time it was my wool, picking it up and selling it that showed me something different about myself.
When I picked up my wool and saw how much there was I seriously wondered if I would be able to sell it all. In the past this concern would have been accompanied by fear and self reproach. I would have beat myself up over only shearing the sheep once a year, or about my decisions on how to process the wool.
But instead, after the initial bout of worry, I found myself getting excited about the idea of how I would go about selling all that wool.
I started taking photos of my wool in way’s I hadn’t before. I took videos of the sheep and wrote about my yarn almost every day for two weeks. And I discovered that not only I was having fun, but doing this made me feel confident about my ability to sell my wool.
Each day as I sold a few more skeins, I grew more sure of myself.
I was certain I would not only make my money back but make a profit too. And because of the repeat buyers and the messages I got from people I could see that my wool is the kind that people like working with. That it really is good quality wool.
It’s not that I hadn’t experienced this before or didn’t know it on some level. It’s that for the first time since I started selling my wool 11 years ago, I really and truly believed it.
It’s that feeling of believing in myself, of confidence in what I am doing and my ability to do it that is new. And I know it comes directly from disconnecting from my family. It comes from the freedom I have felt since my mother died.
The weigh of the implied judgment that there was something wrong with me, that I wasn’t capable, that I would regret my choices, are gone.
And the void that weight left is filling up with a sense of self that is determined by me alone. As if I’m seeing the reality of myself and the life I have chosen clearly for first time.
That feeling of confidence didn’t leave when my wool was sold.
It’s there in my new quilt “Dancing With The Dragonflies” and it’s eking its way into everything I do. Even when I wake up in the morning frightened. Now instead of giving in to the fear, I sit with it and come to see again and again, that it isn’t real after all.
It’s a curious thing, that this awareness should come from selling my wool. But, of course, it’s more than just selling wool. It’s my choice of a way of life, my way of living. The truth of who I am.
And it’s only now that I truly feel free to try to fulfill the potential of who I can be.
I stopped Dancing with the Dragonflies, today to make some more Spirit Owl Potholders. I sold out the first batch before even putting them up for sale. And I had a couple of other people who were interested in them.
Since I had more fabric and love making them so much, I designed ten more today. I’ll finish them up next week then put them up for sale in my Etsy Shop.