Pattern designing in progress!

Pattern designing in progress!

Let me start by saying that it has been an interesting 6 months. I apologize for the lack of posts; I find that in order to get pattern models made, patterns drafted, and patterns produced, most of everything else in life goes to the wayside. It’s not that the creative process isn’t enjoyable, but it is a journey that is quite demanding (hopefully also fulfilling in the end!) Add in any number of carefully chosen ‘real life moments’ – i.e. holidays, birthdays, grandchildren, etc. and —– well, suddenly it is May! I’m quite sure many of you reading this, can attest to similar experiences regarding the pace of our lives these days.

All that aside, what I was NOT counting on, was a less than graceful fall that resulted in a fractured shoulder (dominant arm/side no less); this occurring slightly over a week ago. After all the intensive months working on getting my new patterns ready to go, I was looking forward to getting back to posting, creating a few tutorials, and – ok – a bit of relaxation! Not to be! I now spend time trying to figure out how to do things with my left arm! This is where a good sense of humor comes in! It’s amazing the things we do every day and take totally for granted. (I have had a few very sobering moments thinking about those persons who have suffered much greater limb losses – vets, bombing victims, etc. and suddenly the fact that I have an opportunity to regain use of my arm is truly a blessing!) Ever try parting your hair with one hand?!?! And then there is the eating thing; remember the scene between Steve Martin and Michael Caine (in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) where Steve Martin’s character is attempting to eat – shall we say in a less than gracious manner?? :))) But I am optimistic – today I am able to lift my hand up to rest on the keyboard so I can use my right fingers to type – so much better than playing ‘twister’ with my left hand/fingers! One day at a time!

Unfortunately, one of the things I can not do is lift the weight of my camera to take pictures, so those tutorials will have to wait a bit. I do have a number of interesting thoughts, topics, and ramblings that I think will make for some hopefully entertaining posts and maybe some discussion.

After my last post about threads, I realized a few short weeks later that I had actually left out some embroidery threads that I use and enjoy very much. Two years ago, I was given a spool of Madiera Lana Wool thread (not all wool, actually a 50/50 wool/polyester blend. This thread is fine weight thread with a nice wool ‘bloom’ to it. At first, I wasn’t sure what I would use it for as it seemed so much finer than pearl cotton or strands of floss. However, I found myself ‘trying’ it in several different projects – and realized that ‘it’ was ‘growing’ on me! Then, when I attended the Houston Quilt Market, I was able to purchase a wool 12 thread set by Aurifil. Now I had more colors, and more opportunities for use! The real revelation came when I started designing my pattern ‘Mandala Dreams‘!! This thread was made for the stitching in this model. Because of the finer weight, I was able to achieve beautiful chain stitches as well as smaller, more delicate blanket stitching. I suddenly saw potential in so many project ideas I have. I decided I had to have more colors, etc. and in my search for wool thread I ended up at Tristan Threads – a Canadian company that was closing out their Aurifil wool thread even as they are now carrying Genziana wool thread. To be honest I could not distinguish much difference between the Madiera and Aurifil thread, although the Aurifil may be a bit smoother, not quite as ‘coarse’. I have since received a sample of the Genziana thread from an online site called Walnut Valley Woolens – they sell the Genziana thread in lots of colors and it is reasonably priced. The thread looooks great – I need my stitching arm back so I can try it out!

Madiera Wool Thread - end cap

Madiera Wool Thread – end cap

Madiera Wool thread - side view

Madiera Wool thread – side view

AurifIl WoolThread - Folk set

AurifIl WoolThread – Folk set

I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Genziana thread. Especially through a wonderful group of wool workers that belong to a group on Facebook – check out the Wool Applique group. They are a wonderful group of ladies, all skills and levels, with lots of enthusiasm, encouraging words, and all kinds of experiences to share and to learn from. Check them out and join in the fun! In regards to the threads, think of them like tools: yes we can all get by with one or two tools, but having more tools certainly expands our ‘repertoire’ and only adds more and more possibilities to our work. We all have budgets, but with a bit of thrift we can slowly try a new thread here or there, maybe even swapping with a friend or two. Every stitcher will enjoy his or her favorite threads, which is exactly what they should use!!

Enough said about threads…just a word on my post photo for today. This is just one step along the way in pattern designing. In my new patterns, the applique placement guides and templates needed to be drawn in actual size, but printed on 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper in a manner that they could be ’tiled’ together for use by the stitcher. I am very proud to say, that as a truly self taught designer, I managed to figure out how to ’tile’ the master drawing into 4 – 6 pages! Do I dare say it took me a full 3 days to figure out how?!?! This process had to be done prior to writing the actual instructions. I will have to dedicate another post to share some of the steps of pattern designing, but I think many of you may enjoy hearing about the process. Till then, stitch away in the springtime sunshine!

2 Responses so far.

  1. Barbara Brannon says:

    How interesting! I would be very interested in reading about your designing process – and love your patterns!
    Barbara in TN

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Barbara! Stay tuned. This will be short but I’m currently doing “battle’ with a nasty bout of PHN (that’s post herpetic neuralgia) from an old case of shingles; PAINFUL!!!! These bouts leave me unable to think straight about much of anything and I am only able to do the most basic of activities (and that’s with a TENS unit and any other number of random attempts to distract myself from the pain!) All in all, life gets put on hold. But it is my intention to document some of that designing/pattern writing process in my blog as I tackle the Yule Tree advent calendar, which is now hanging on the door right next to my computer. There is a gift to every dark cloud; the blue skies are that much brighter and bluer!

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