Georgia On My Mind

Roadtrip! We are taking a couple of weeks off to drive up to New Hampshire. One of the downsides of living on a penisula like Florida is that all roadtrips must begin by going in the same direction, so for us the first 380 miles are always the same. Thus we decided to begin by a little bit of cheating - we set off half a day early, Friday afternoon... so to get the first 7 hours (and the whole of the pennisula) out of the way. Which means that we woke on Saturday to a sunny day in Georgia, and the "true" beginning of our road adventure.

Darien-oak

We stopped and stayed overnight in Darien Georgia, primarily because we wanted to have a meal at Skipper's Fish Camp, which is a place we found on Roadfood.com. By a stroke of luck they were having a Harvest festival in downtown Darien (downtown being about two blocks long). The area around the dock was full of beautiful houses and tall oaks dripping with Spanish moss.  So lovely.

Darien dock
Billie-in-Darien

We sat out on the dock as we had Billie with us.  It was a bit windy but the sun was out and the view over the river and marshes was lovely.  We ate delicious crab cakes, collard greens, shrimp & grits and perch.  We had a short wander around the stalls at the festival and bought two lovely hand-carved wooden bowls - one made from mahogony and one from pecan wood.

Darien-decay

It was a great start to our trip!

Little things can make a big difference

I run my business from home, and that means working in a small room which contains all of my work stuff, plus all of my hobby stuff. I confess that it is sometimes very hard to turn away from the gorgeous piles of fabric and the sewing machine, and face the computer screens to do some fairly monotonous administrative work.  Well, I made a couple of little changes yesterday which have made me unreasonably happy, and which I hope will make those computer tasks a little more attractive.

Small stuff, but I am happy to say that these little things do make me happier to sit at the computer.  First of all, I made myself two lovely desktop images of fabric, courtesy of the gorgeous photography of The Workroom, a crafting space in Toronto (which I would love to visit one day!). I chose two of my recent faves - the Wildwood collection by Elizabeth Olwen, and some Nani Iro blue mountains.  Looking at these beautiful colors and patterns really cheers me up.  

Another change I made is with my browser.  I use Chrome, and Chrome allows you to select a theme.  Most of the themes are photographic but there are some by fashion designers and I found this beautiful triangle design by Jack Spade that I love...here's a closeup.

I think this design appeals to me so much right now because I have been doing an online quilting class with Stitched In Color, and the class is all about angled piecing.  One of the quilts I made is based entirely on rows of triangles, and this theme really reminds me of that.  The colors are beautiful too.

So these little changes make it easier for me to look away from the sewing machine and concentrate on the work that must be done (to fund the sewing!). 

Do you have any ways of "tricking" yourself into doing your work or chores?

And thank you for not commenting on my messy desk!  :)

And a-quilting we will go

And so I finally get down to the business of some quilting. Now that the stressful parts (I think) about buying the fabrics and waiting for the fabrics to arrive and worrying about my fabric choices are over... now the real fun can begin.

Piles of fabric; the aftermath of pre-washing; determining order; the first cut is the deepest; class notebook.

Piles of fabric; the aftermath of pre-washing; determining order; the first cut is the deepest; class notebook.

Our teacher, Rachel, has given us some very detailed information on equilateral triangles and tutorials for how you cut them and sew them together for quilts.  This is a good thing.  She is also available to answer questions on our class site or on our private Flickr group.  I am learning tons from my fellow classmates too.

But of course everything starts with pre-washing.  Yes, I am a pre-washer. When the class first got together some of us did a Google Hangout and the subject came up, and it seems that the majority don't pre-wash, instead preferring to dig straight in, and to throw a 'colour catcher' sheet into the first wash to handle any dye running.  

I like to pre-wash for a lot of reasons, but mainly because I enjoy handling the fabrics much more after they have been washed. Pre-washing gets rid of the chemicals and sizing which all fabrics carry straight off the bolt, it also deals with the shrinkage (which can vary from fabric to fabric) and of course, any dye loss. I even enjoy pressing the fabrics after they have been washed, because it gives me another opportunity to look and touch and consider my choices. And finally, I think the fabrics stick together much better after washing, which makes all the piecing so much easier. The only part I don't love about pre-washing is all of the fraying. When things come out of the washer they tend to be gnarled up into strangulated bunches and I have to cut them apart and trim all the thread. I have tried 'pinking' the edges before laundering but it doesn't seem to help much. 

The other good thing is the weather. Remarkably, for southern Florida, we are having a rather grey and rainy weekend.  (It rains a lot here, but it's usually quick & nasty tropical downpours and the sun is out 30 minutes later.)  

A grey & wet day to sew away the hours.

A grey & wet day to sew away the hours.

I guess all those years in London have left their mark, and there is something particularly satisfying about spending a grey & wet day inside, cozy and warm and making something with thread. I had a tiny little attic crafting room in London where I could look out over the treetops while I stitched away.  Days like this in Florida bring a little of that back for me and I really enjoy it. 

Quilting soundtrack:  Mark Lanegan, and Banks.