As I mentioned in my last post, I put my hand stitching aside in order to take a Pat Pauly virtual workshop. It was all about line, setting, composition and boy did she pack a lot into those two days. So much fun!
I’m not a quilter. I just have to say that. I mean I love quilts and I love seeing what others do, but I cannot sew seams so that they meet perfectly, nor can I manage to make those points that people do with ease, and a 1/4″ seam on any kind of regular basis baffles me. If I manage to get one, it’s a gift, and I appreciate the beauty of it, even when using a 1/4″ seam sewing foot, I still don’t seem capable of it. The fabric bunches up, the little guide line gets in the way, oh right, it’s there to help me, but it never really does. Anyway, the whole thing ends up as a disaster, but Pat… Pat’s work is much more fluid and isn’t exacting, it’s improvisational and she talks about how the various parts need to speak to each other. This is exactly what I say and do when I’m hand stitching. Is this area having an interesting conversation with this other part? Is this thread bossy and taking over? This is a language I speak!
But then there’s the whole using a sewing machine aspect to this sort of work. I get the appeal, it’s a whole lot faster than hand stitching and one can do things that you just couldn’t do hand stitching, but it still comes with its own set of pitfalls. At least it does for me. On day 1 of Pat’s workshop everyone was racing ahead with the next set of instructions on setting a shape into another piece of fabric and things seemed to be going well. I mean the whole 1/4″ seam thing continues to elude me, but I’ve made peace with that, so all was well.
And then my machine ran out of bobbin thread. Now normally this wouldn’t be cause for great distress, but in my case, this is a newish machine, having traded in my Bernina 880 (which was in the shop more than it wasn’t) and so here I was with my new Bernina 790. It’s a beautiful beast of a machine that uses different bobbins and a different bobbin case than I’m used to, so after a little struggling I managed to wrestle the bobbin out of its little case and then tried to put it onto the bobbin winder on top of the machine. Except that it didn’t fit. I could hear Pat in the background giving valuable information that I would no doubt desperately need, and yet here I was with a bobbin that I couldn’t figure out how to refill. No one must ever know, I thought as I desperately tried to make the bobbin winder work. Finally in a moment of panic I jammed the bobbin onto the winder and then manually held the little lever so that it would wind. Sort of. I then yanked the thing off, put it back into the machine and tried to sew, only now I started getting an error message.
Having now completely missed the last important instructions from Pat, something I knew was vital information to have, but never mind, getting the bobbin to work was taking all my time and energy. What to do? So I did what I do when my computer or phone starts behaving oddly, shut the whole thing down and reboot. Every now and then Pat would say, “So how’s it going _______________” and I would say a silent prayer that she wouldn’t call on me and then I’d have to confess to everyone that not only was I incapable of sewing a 1/4″ seam, but I also had no idea how to refill the bobbin. I could hear everyone else in the background, machines purring happily as they created tiny works of beauty, while I, in all my shame and humiliation, couldn’t manage something so simple and basic!
As I waited for the machine to turn back on, I went in search of my instruction manual, only I’d done a very thorough clean up just the day before and so who knows where that thing was!? Finally I located it and saw that I’d put the bobbin upside down onto the little bobbin winder. It’s a wonder I didn’t break the machine! But never mind, eventually I got the thing working and off I went, making tiny skinny lines in various places. cutting up new pieces, placing shapes within shapes and having a blast. Even better, no one seemed to notice that I was having a tiny crisis!
I would show you the whole thing, but that will have to wait until another day when I have something that’s not quite so “work in progress”!
I have this dream that one day I will be able to keep my sewing machine out all the time AND have my hand stitching and threads all out in another part of the room so that I can seamlessly move from hand stitching to working on the machine and back to hand stitching without having to put everything away each time!
I know, I know. You’re wondering if you stumbled upon the wrong blog. You’re thinking – what has she done? Where are all her beautiful threads that I so covet? What’s going on around here?
Never fear. My threads, and everything else hand stitching related, are all, somewhat, neatly stacked on the floor out of view and then not so neatly shoved into various corners, like just to the left of my sewing machine.
It kind of reminds me of Santorini where there’s one view that one can capture by photograph that is exquisite and magical and just beyond beautiful, like a fairy tale, really.
But then, if you turn just a little, you get a very different view where things aren’t quite so glistening and white, there’s garbage, the houses aren’t all pristine, and the land isn’t landscaped, but rugged and without flowers.
That’s what my studio looks like right now. There’s only one shot where everything is neat and tidy. Everything else is pretty haphazard.
The reason for all of this is that I’m taking a 2-day workshop with my friend, Pat Pauly, who is fabulous and a really wonderful teacher! I’m not much of a quilter, so this is definitely a stretch for me, but I love her work and she’s pretty terrific, so here I am, preparing for her workshop, which will begin in just a couple of hours.
Pat Pauly is also the one who sent me this piece of linen, which I’m working away on…
I have a couple pieces I’m working on simultaneously at the moment. One is a piece I began for my Improvisational Stitching Workshop. We are having SO much fun! As I was working on it, I decided to do a video on one way I like to create organic looking shapes. That video is premiering at 1pm EDT today, so if you’re around, come join me as I will be watching with you and can chat as we watch. Typically I go online a few minutes prior to the release time so that I can chat with anyone who is waiting. The Premieres are lots of fun and a way to connect with each other.
Another piece that I’m working on is what I thought was going to be a Stitch Along and then got stuck and decided to play around with a few different ideas before I committed one way or the other. That piece is just beginning to take shape. So far so good. I talk about it and begin working on it a little in the video below.
And then finally I’ve got another improvisational stitching piece that I’m just beginning and that is much larger than what I have done before. It measures about 44″ x 36″. So exciting!
In other news we continue to steam ahead on my website, which we’re hoping will be up and running by the end of this month. And I’ll be adding some fun workshops, a newsletter and lots of other things, so stay tuned!
By the way, that silk scarf I’m wearing in the photo at the top of this post? Yup, that one. It’s made by my friend Pat Pauly, who does the most gorgeous work. If you aren’t familiar with Pat’s work, go over to her website. She’s fabulous!
Animal Videos, Stitching, Dorset Buttons and a Couple Other Things Thrown in for Good Measure was the original title of this post, but that was way too long, so I had to shorten it.
A friend of mine (and of my mother’s) sent me this video, which of course I had to share. Thank you Linda! ❤️
I added a few Dorset Buttons to my Scissor Case, which I am now declaring finished. Seriously. I need to be stopped. However in my defense I had to wrap a whole bunch of rings in preparation for my advanced Dorset Button workshop that I’m teaching tomorrow and since I was already wrapping them, why not make a few more for the background of the scissor case? I mean, that’s just basic time management at work, right?
How fabulous are these? And I don’t mean that in a boasting kind of way, but more in an exuberant-whoopee-these-are-SO-much-fun kind of way…
These are going to be 5-day workshops once my website is finished and up and running. Did I mention we’ve been working away on that?!
AND this weekend I begin my Improvisational Workshop, which I’m just way too excited about and will need to sit in quiet, meditative, stillness for a few minutes, just to calm down.
I wanted to write this post on Saturday, February 20th, because that was exactly one year ago when I launched my first video for my Youtube Channel, Ariane Zurcher ~ On the Other Hand!
Since that day, just over one year ago today, I have made and posted 248 videos! Yesterday I did a livestream, where I’m obviously feeling quite a bit more comfortable filming and posting. I went from having 0 subscribers to 3,865 subscribers as of yesterday. I say this not to brag, but more as a mark of where I began with YouTube and where I am now. Because in this crazy time of the pandemic, when everything can feel really, really off and sad, I also want to remember some good, which means honoring my own personal little milestones.
Here in the United States we hit more than half a million dead from COVID19. It’s a grim reminder of the perilous and tragic times we find ourselves in; a time when so many of us have been unable to see those we love, whether that’s our aging parents or young grandchildren. It’s been a period marked by disconnect and fear and worry and yet, we have also made different kinds of connections. Zoom calls and classes have taken off. Who would have thought any of us would know our way around a Zoom meeting?!
Personally this has been a year of massive and intense learning. When I began my Youtube Channel I had no idea how to upload videos, make thumbnails, do livestreams or premiere a video. I also taught myself how to create a design from paper sketch, to computer, to downloadable PDF file, write instructions, and in the last 12 months I’ve posted 8 new designs in my Etsy Shop, conducted an 8-week Zoom Workshop, with another one in the planning stages, created a Facebook Group: Ariane Zurcher Stitching Circle (which has 1.2 thousand members) and a Patreon page!
And here are a few of my other designs from the past 12 months.
And along the way I began to explore what I call Improvisational Stitching.
This has been the most intense year, both incredibly sad and scary globally, as well as exhilarating and exciting on a personal level. It’s been both. I have met thousands of new people from all over the world and for that I’m so, so grateful.
So, to all of you who’ve joined me during this truly bizarre time, thank you. Let’s keep laughing and stitching! ❤️