February 9, 2015

Moving On

We're all trying to walk around the big hole in our home.

Billy depended on Clutch to noodge me with a big paw in my napping face to get dinner, to alert him that something yummy could drop on the kitchen floor any second, to signal that new arrivals knew the secret handshake and could enter into the house.  He definitely benefited from the Vulcan Mind Meld, doggie-style.
Now he has to think for himself and it isn't easy for him.
He is much more attuned to me now---I hid behind a tree on our walk in the woods yesterday and for the first time, he actually dropped his mouthful of deer poop to run back to find me. He sprawls on my lap every evening now, which complicates my ability to finish my last three birds (I think I embroidered the last beak to his tail.)

Himself nursed himself by immediately latching on to petfinder.com to look for a new dog. That happened so quickly that I am no longer worried about his well-being upon my demise... as long as someone develops wifefinder.com.

Me? I made sure all my applications with the boxer rescue groups are up-to-date and then moved my thoughts back into the present.  I took photos of Clutch's pawprint in the snow and used Picasa to get a high-contrast image...
 that I converted to cloth...
...and then to the beginnings of a story.
I originally thought I would continue the paws as just thread outlines but decided that I would eventually want to look at something that made me smile--a story of Clutchie, not of grief. And so I will somehow give him back his ball.
Rough idea
Meanwhile, back at the Kaffe Fassett ranch, I have a quilt to design and sew.

Here's the scoop.

Every year, Kaffe and Liza create a new book that is full of quilts using the latest Kaffe Fassett Collective Fabrics.  My coworkers have always contributed a design, but they are well-established and experienced quilters.

When I started working at Glorious Color about 7 years ago, I was a quilting novice. I had made several quilts, sewing together my choice of fabrics but always for an existing pattern.  And with mismatched seams, bumps in my patches, and squares that rarely had four sides. But working with Liza and my coworkers is like being in Quilt College. Under their gentle tutelage, I slowly learned. And I slowly began to contribute. First, by updating older quilts of Kaffe's with newer fabric...and then, by creating my own designs.  These are all available as kits in the online shop.

One of my quilts, Jumping Jupiter, was originally designed for the shop. It snuck into the last book (Quilts in Morocco) because of a late no-show from someone else. This time around, Liza actually invited me to create for the 2016 book when she invited the grown-ups.


Yep, it is a challenge on all fronts. First, second, and third, I have to get over myself, but that's an ongoing challenge, isn't it?

Fourth is the brutal reality of fabric merchandising. The book will not be available until September 2016.  But, by then, the manufacturer will have discontinued many of the fabrics that are currently available now. Which means we would be designing quilts that will not be possible to make. And we don't know which ones will bite the dust, either. The solution? Our designs must only include 1)fabrics that are not yet commercially available (ha ha, I have samples and you don't) and will therefore be around next year and 2) "classic" fabrics that will be around permanently, or however long permanent is in the world of retailing.

Fifth, we must be mindful of waste: no sense including just one four-inch square of a fabric when the quilter will have to buy 1/4 yard minimum.

Sixth, we must create a quilt that can be recreated by following meticulous instructions. Customers who buy books of patterns do not want improvisation. That is, you have to say "cut a 2 1/2 circle," not "cut a circle that looks right to you."

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, enjoy the play. Lucky for me, Kaffe and Liza want no limits on our creativity within the constraints outlined above. They want beautiful quilts that make the fabric glow. Beautiful quilts that will look mouth-watering as they are photographed tucked into the tiny Mediterranean villages of Cinque Terre, Italy.  (Got that? The quilts go to Italy. The quilters stay in Pennsylvania.) And beautiful quilts that the designers themselves love working on.

So here is where I am. Not surprisingly, I want lots of color.  With bouncing circles. Here's the base so far:
These are 4 inch squares that will be stitched into 3.5 inch squares
And here's my first pass at auditioning the rough circles, which will be hemmed (by hand) down to 2.5 inches and then  sewn down (by hand).
I may fill every square, I may create other kind of effect. I just better get moving because there are 289 of these babies to sew down.

Not to mention a big pink ball for a big-hearted dog.