Sunday, June 11, 2006

Digging for Treasure

I did some sensible, disciplined, "grown-ups finish what they start" sort of knitting this weekend. Row after row of plain stockinette, mocked every stitch by the knowledge that I Made A Mistake On Yardage. But I shall prevail - I have read every page of both of Nicky Epstein's edging books and now, overwhelmed with creative stimuli and Too Many Choices, I have pretty much decided to design my own. (I sometimes wonder why I spend so much money on books, only to use them as creative jumping off points - surely there is a cheaper form of inspiration??) It will be WAY cool, and based on Nicky's use of i-cord and the mathematical design formulae I gleaned from this site early in my silver smithing ventures. I never really stuck with it for jewellery (largely because metal work-hardens rapidly and I don't - yet - have the fire-intensive equipment to alloy, fabricate, and repeatedly anneal gold and silver), but the notion of genuinely tied continuous knotwork continues to fascinate me.

The other sensible thing I did this weekend was to start sifting through a lifetime of accumulated sewing, knitting and other fiber art supplies. It's only 2 months now until we move and I have to pare down our belongings to fit in an 800 square foot 2 bedroom apartment (did I mention the two kids and the cat and the 155 lb Irish wolfhound?) I have no problem shedding most of our possessions, because we really haven't ever been into accumulating fancy consumer goods and I am truly looking forward to a simpler uncluttered lifestyle. It's the fibre and textiles and their associated accoutrements that I cling to, unable to shed that classic Depression era thought "but what if I need it someday?" I think it's more than that though, because the sort of multi-media textile art I love relies on a deep and eclectic hoard of treasures from which one may draw, at a moment's notice, just the right bit of something for a project. I just have to organize and consolidate them. I have resolved to shed the cheap acrylic yarn that was all I could afford in my teens and the (likely polyester) "mystery fabrics" that were on sale and that I have never yet made drapes from or utilized to reupholster my couch. There are lots of lovely treasures though, and I thought it would be fun to post some of them as the "dig" progresses.
This is from my pre-children art quilt phase. I had a very dreamy sort of eco-feminist image of breasts flowing with milk into a magical pool in the woods. I was not so much into planning things at that point though, and thought I could just sort of "paint" the little 1 inch squares of cotton prints into place as I went along. Clearly, it was not going to work (although I still rather like the image), and for the last 10 years it has been taking up quite a lot of space as a very prickly object containing most of my best sewing pins. I dismantled it with the (amazingly non-injurious) help of my 3 year old DS. The squares went into a ziplock to make a lovely watercolorish sort of quilted project at a later date. And I don't have to buy more sewing pins.

My mother brought this back from Istanbul for me a few years back:
It's a heavy upholstery fabric, and I think it will make a lovely set of organizers: sewing supplies, knitting needles, and soft, compact storage for my inventory of finished jewellery.

Like so:

Do I have time to design and sew this stuff? I'm not sure I have time not to, and I would like, for once, to move without things being stuffed haphazardly in makeshift boxes at the last minute.