Four questions. Four designers. Countless UFOs. March 31 2020 1 Comment
We reached out to some of our past featured designers to learn how they were coping in our current shelter in place / quarantine environment and what UFO projects they might be tackling. Here’s what Sharon Burgess of Lilabelle Lane, Nichole Vogelsinger of Wild Boho, Veronique Diligent and Rachaeldaisy have in the works.
How are you coping with social distancing and what advice would you give to other Stitchers during this time?
I am a home body and the type of person who likes to find the positive in a situation so I am enjoying the slower pace, no schedule of commitments to keep, later starts to family movie nights and casual sleep in's. We are enjoying that our youngest daughter (11) loves to bake which may not be too good for the waistline but so worth it to see her smiles from her baking efforts. Yes, we want to go and hug our aging parents, but on the up-side we are keeping in contact more by phone. I think it is important to not focus on what we cannot do at this time but what we can. I think that as creative people we have all wished for more time to do what we love but now we do have that time, we may be struggling a little. Don’t force yourself to be creative, it is ok not to sew today or tomorrow but when you do, enjoy it. Pick up a project that you feel connected to on any given day and don’t worry if you are project hopping. I know I have been, but at the same time, I am starting to finish projects, projects I haven’t touched for so long.
These are really stressful times, and I find it works best for me to just take one day at a time. Knowing that this is going to last several weeks or months can be scary, but focusing just on one day lets you take back control over what feels like it is spiraling out of control. Getting outside into nature really helps my family. It helps to burn off everybody’s energy and gives us a much needed change of scenery.
I find that being creative really helps me to de-stress. Allowing my mind to wander into creative projects is great way channel anxiety into something, whether it’s a new embroidery project or an art project with my kids.
So far it’s ok. I had my lovely group of ladies over last week and it will do for the foreseeable future. (We have no idea how long it’s going to be so one step at the time.)
When I’m not traveling to teach, I spend my days at home sewing and working on projects so I’m lucky that for me to be at home stitching feels quite normal. I have friends I chat to most days through messaging, and I find social media is great for staying in contact with everyone in the community. People could go the next step and organize a Skype or FaceTime sewing get together.
What has been your silver-lining through all of this?
Having my family at home. If our Pugs Elly and Anakin could answer this question, I think that they too would have the same answer as they are in their element with more people to snuggle up to and play with during the day.
The silver lining right now is just slowing down. Everything is always so rushed and scheduled and so being told to stay home and having a suddenly empty schedule...well, that’s not a bad thing. It’s an adjustment, but it’s one that I’m okay making, especially if it means helping to keep others safe and healthy.
Spending more time at home and not having to choose between gardening or quilting or cleaning ( always the last choice in any circumstances). And definitely appreciating all the little things we are taking for granted.
I’ve been saying for a while that I need to catch up on my pattern writing. I have made lots of quilts over the years but have only started writing patterns in the last couple of years. There are many quilts that I’ve had requests for patterns so now I’ll have time to work on them.
How many UFO’s do you have? Which, if any, would you like to complete as part of a challenge? Why is it a UFO? Why do you want to finish it?
Oh no, the WIP and UFO list … yikes this one can sometimes be hard to own up to. Over the weekend I went through my studio and pulled out all mine. I have a total of 11 UFO’s and WIP’s that are not ‘work’ related, and I have plans to work on three of them as part of the challenge. Many of my projects tend to fall into the UFO pile as I am constantly focusing on my own designs and being they are all hand pieced (EPP) they take so long to create in their own right, but sometimes I just need to put them aside and play with something else. So, as our nights are starting to cool down here in Australia, it is the perfect time to add some rows to my Dune Blanket, pattern by @attich24 on Instagram. I have doubled the size of mine so it will be big, queen size big. I am currently on row 23 of 100. My 2nd project is a long standing UFO and is my Sunburst Granny Blanket and my 3rd project is my “Love and Liberty Quilt” made with 1” hexies.
That is a hilarious question! I usually work on several projects at a time but besides that, I have lots and lots of projects that I have set aside for one reason or another and just haven’t gotten back to. Because the scale of my projects are smaller, than say a quilt, it doesn’t bother me too much to move from project to project.
I had started to stitch this Cori Dantini mermaid panel about a year ago, but then I set it aside because I wasn’t sure how I wanted to display the finished piece. It wasn’t until I found this large oval hoop at a thrift store recently that I picked it up and started to stitch again. I’m looking forward to adding some more stitches to her during this time.
A friend of mine had given us an A4 paper on which to write all our UFO's, for our eyes only, but being truthful. Some of those will stay UFO’s forever ( and that was the idea behind “Pêle-Mêle”, using some of those long forgotten UFO’s) but all in all I don’t have too many, a bit more of WIP ( work in progress) it doesn’t sound as terrible ! So far I have 3 embroideries, and 7 quilts ( oops didn’t realize it was so many). And I would love to participate in the challenge although I am sure this UFO will take more than 6 weeks or even 6 months to complete, but I am happy to give it a try.
I have a zillion UFOs but I’ll just share 3. I always work on a few at a time to have different sewing styles for different moods.
1) Machine sewing: At the moment I’m working on a Whizz Bang quilt using my husband’s shirts. I’m having fun with the high color contrast and the stripes. The plan is to have this quilt finished in time for an upcoming solo exhibition of my work. It opens in May so fingers crossed the exhibition will still go ahead, If not it will be another great example of how you can use the blocks in a quilt. I actually have a few more Whizz Bang quilts on the go. They are such fun I keep making more, maybe they’ll become a follow-up book.
2) Handwork: I’m finishing off my Sydney Quilt Show entry, I’m adding applique to the borders and must remember to add a hanging sleeve and label. I always seem to remember that just as I’m packing the quilt to deliver. I’m so looking forward to sharing this quilt but will wait for the big reveal to be at the quilt show, for now here is a picture of the backing.
3) Quilting: I have another version of Pockets Full of Posies on the go. It’s such a fun quilt to make so I wanted to make another. I started this one a while ago and it keeps being put aside while other quilts are more important but it will be great to get it finished.
Quilters/Stitchers are problem solvers. Are there any tools or notions that you can’t live without that you now find yourself living without? How are you improvising?
This one makes me giggle. I always joke that I have a little OCD (not the medical type) and with that comes the organization and checklist that ensures I am well stocked, especially with my glue stick refills. So I haven’t found anything yet that I need and don’t have but that may change any day so I will keep you posted.
I think us quilters or stitchers have enough supplies or stash to last a couple of life times without buying any and now is the great time to use it. And be creative if we don’t have the “right” fabric for the current project. But I made sure I had enough threads, and fabrics ( just in case….)
I haven’t come across anything that I need yet, my sewing room is very well stocked. We’re lucky too that shops are still operating online and it’s good to support them through this time, so if I run out of anything I’ll happily order it and add some extra fabric to the order as a treat.
You can join Sharon, Nichole, Veronique and Rachael in our UFO Challenge => JOIN NOW!