Right after we gathered to celebrate the lives of AJ and UB, I drove to the airport and headed straight down to Georgia to hang with my fibre arts group. Although I arrived a day late, it was just the respite and escape I needed. Four days of making, talking, laughing, and sharing our love of making was too short. Luckily I extended my escape for a few days of exploring in Savannah with Emmy - a place I'd wanted to visit since the summer before I was in grade 13 (and yes, long before I read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ;-) ). It did not disappoint.
The rest of the first half of the year was filled with preparing to move, then moving and settling into my new digs. After my dad died, my mum asked if I would like to move in with her... and so we began the process of sprucing up their house a bit and making room for me and my stuff. Our weekends and evenings were filled with taking down paintings, removing wallpaper, packing up belongings, moving furniture, patching, sanding, painting, moving furniture, pulling up carpet, scraping off old floor tiles, moving furniture, watching new floors be laid, trying my hand at 'mudding' drywall, more sanding and painting, unpacking belongings, more moving furniture, hanging artwork, and still more moving of furniture. Needless to say, we got really good at moving furniture! ;-) It was a lot of work, for sure, but the facelift was overdue, and making some changes was good for all of us.
One of the many positive things that came out of the move was that Jumbo finally found a fitting place to be in use and on display... and has already survived a few doses of dog barf.... ;-)
In the Spring, Elaine came to visit and we tried our hand at another round of indigo. It was great fun and some great learning. I still have another kit that I hope to break out soon.
In April we took a bit of a break from our re-decorating to work on sewing 13 flannel 'camp blankets' for the most regular campers at our family Campsite. Over the 4 days of Easter weekend we completed 312 blocks, arranged and sewed together the tops, and even started tying the quilts! My sister Sandra, my mum and I worked full time on the project, with some part-time helpers drifting in and out. We had purchased all of the fabric and planned the project for the Christmas holidays, but then with everything that happened with Dad, it got put on the back burner. It was good to finally get them made, though, and great fun (and super cosy) to have them in our tents - especially with our new foam mattresses and the custom flannel sheets and pillowcases we made to match!
In July I was inspired to recommence my own 'making' when I travelled to Nova Scotia to attend a lecture and take a class with Kaffe Fassett, at Deanne's. I have been a big fan for more than half of my life, so this opportunity was one I just couldn't pass up. And although taking time off in the summer is practically unheard of for me, I took the Friday off and spent a wonderful 48 hours in Nova Scotia. I enjoyed the class (especially the part when he chose my piece to discuss with the class), and most of all that I returned home energized about really creating again.
In short order, I began working on a bed-sized blanket. I've used my first one a lot and I've been wanting to knit another one for a few years now, and it was finally time to get started. It was great to be able to find my post-project notes from last time (and another reminder to myself about why I need to resume and keep blogging! ;-) ) and refresh my memory on what I had done, needle size, etc. After a few trial and error attempts to get started, I finally figured out how to create the rectangular centre (I will give full details in a blog post very soon). After many evenings by the campfire, knitting until it got too dark, and several rain days at home, I finally cast off in mid-August. The finished blanket is much bigger than its cousin (weighing in at a whopping 7.5lbs), easily covering my double-bed (and will be even bigger when I finally get around to blocking it... LOL!). For now, it's on my bed and quite cosy.
The blanket was barely 'put to bed' (:-D), and I was diving into my drawers of batiks and pulling out colours for a quilt top. To make a long story short, one quilt top turned into four! All sewn in less than a month. I am not saying farewell to rug hooking just yet, but I can't deny that it takes a lot less time to make a quilt than it takes to hook a rug - and there is still all of the fun colour play. Plus, my sister Sandra and I have been working together on most of these projects, with plans for more in the future... better still we are even more productive together - and it's heaps more fun!
In late September we even tried our hand at long arm quilting on a computerized machine. Then at the beginning of October I took a free motion quilting class, and a whole new world of possibilities appeared. I also taught a couple of fun jewellery classes, though I failed to take a single photo. You can see a few on Elizabeth's blog here, though... ;-)
I decided to forgo my tradition of travelling to Vermont for Hooked in the Mountains this year, and instead spent the time and the budget doing some serious work and organization in our studio and storage areas. There was not much idle time over the course of 9 days in October. In addition to more painting (and moving of furniture!) we managed to get all of our supplies completely reorganized, into labelled bins, and neatly stored all together in the storage room. 'Box Mountain' (the massive pile of boxes of "craft stuff" that arrived with me when I moved) was dismantled and downsized - and just in time, since I had quickly become fed up with having to move boxes around and around trying to find what I was looking for.
After this massive reorganization and a marathon trip to Ikea, the conversion of my mum's previous studio space into our new Sewing Room, is pretty much complete. We have given just a small amount of space for storing/displaying fabrics (including a 'working stash' of hooking wools), books, and frequently used tools... with the bulk of the room left as working space. There are 4 work tables that can be configured all sorts of different ways, depending on the project at hand. We have already had a few full working days in the space and I have to say, I think it's going to be awesome for my Mum, Sandra and I to work in.
To that end we've been brainstorming ideas and have lots of possibilities percolating. After many years of 'going it on my own' and focused mostly on rug hooking, I am ready to branch out by partnering with my sister and expanding my creativity to include other fibre mediums. I will be sharing more about this transition to our new and shared Fish Eye Sisters very soon.... ;-)
In the meantime, welcome back! After no less than 6 various unfinished drafts over the last several months, it's great to be home again! I will try harder to get back into the swing of blogging, but I also just started Instagramming, and I think that little 'microblogs' might be a better fit at this stage. You can follow me/us on Instagram @fisheyesisters