Photos. I finally took photos.

I’m posting this here instead of on Hidden Jewels (for now), mainly because it’s a continuation from the past two weeks. I couldn’t concentrate on reading today, so I went back to the photos I’d taken earlier when the sun was at full blast, and did a tiny bit of photo editing.

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To the left, is a close-up of one of the quilting cottons I picked up yesterday at a local quilting shop. It’s a batik, much nicer in quality than the ones I’ve gotten at the chain fabric and craft stores. I can guess at how it was made…and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was from one of the handmade bolts.

I’m just wondering, at this point…if I wanted to go into crafting as a vocation, basically in my case, apparel design or jewelry design (though I’m more interested in apparel design, at the moment)…how I would do that.

M had been talking about my being able to go back to my art after graduation. The one place I researched which I know has a fashion design program, is FIDM, and their biggest selling point is making friends and networking, which isn’t really my strong suit.

There are a number of steps which come before being able to design apparel, however. I’m thinking that it starts with making clothes (or jewelry) from patterns, then graduates into mixing and matching elements from different patterns, then goes into draping and designing one’s own patterns.

My biggest hurdle with this is the fact that my own sense of style isn’t traditional. I can be interested by traditional work, but the lack of readily available patterns for menswear, for example, is one of those things that I notice and don’t really “get.” As a female person who sometimes wears clothing made for men (and who would wear more of it if it were cut for my body), I know that not everyone who is female wants to wear traditionally feminine clothing. I also know that clothing styled for men doesn’t have to look horrible on a female body, but the apparel industry isn’t really geared toward gender-variant expression at the moment.

Anyhow, going off of my last post, I did get up enough nerve to take some more photos. Not a lot of them, mind; I could have gone at it and photographed all of my Fat Quarters, too, but decided to try not to go overboard. 🙂

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The alternative to the carpet background is to lay down some muslin or something.

So…the above image is of the four bits of fabric I got yesterday, about 3 yards in total (each piece is .75 yards), which cost about $38, including tax. For fabric, that’s pretty good. At least it is where I live, where the cost of living is apparently pretty stupid high.

So…the two on the left are batiks; as I said, possibly hand-painted. The second from the right is faux shibori, I believe (shibori is a method of tie-dyeing which can get really intricate, though I think this one is just a pattern). On the far right, I believe that’s an indigo ikat pattern (ikat is a method of dyeing threads in a particular pattern before they’re woven, and then weaving them together so that a design shows up in the finished fabric).

I’m really interested in fabrics right now, and I’m pretty sure it’s because of the color issue plus the texture issue. I just get stimulated by color (I still don’t know how or why), and I get stimulated tactilely by working with fabric…which is also a mystery. It’s just nice to feel things that feel nice. Which is weird because I don’t consider myself a highly physical person…cloth is something else, though.

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Above are the Kona Cotton Fat Quarters I got a while ago, on which to practice embroidery. Only the pink has been embroidered at this point, though (I used an orange Olympus-brand sashiko thread which doesn’t appear to be that high in quality). That, in turn, was only a trial where I was pushing myself to do anything except be on the computer. It worked…even though I did the embroidery non-traditionally, because I didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t study the optimal thread path before starting.

Well. (It would matter if the stitching was weight-bearing; one of the original uses of sashiko is to reinforce fabric.)

I guess when you just want to get started as fast as possible, to kick yourself out of doing nothing into doing something, it helps.

And I guess we’re pretty deep into the night, now. Here, I mean. I’ll see how I feel, tomorrow. I might want to work; I might not want to. I might be able to work, or not.

Oh, wait: I go to my job, tomorrow.

Coming up, I’ll just start reviewing my old work for the ePortfolio, without committing to writing anything. Working from Competency to Competency, I should have an okay time getting an idea of what to write…my Prof still hasn’t returned my first essay, yet, so I don’t even know if I’m doing the correct work.

I also need to summarize Chapter 1 of the reading for Collection Development, and read over other people’s responses…

I can take my textbook with me tomorrow and try and work through Chapter 2 and review Chapter 1 on my lunch.

I can also take one or more quilting books with me, in case I can’t concentrate… 😉

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Quilting??! (“Why would one need release,” you say?)

I’m experiencing a lot of levels of frustration with my work environment, right now, and the dysfunction is sapping my determination at studying.

On the bright side, I went to the quilt shop, today. I also have a bunch of quilting books to read, if I can pull myself away from what I have to do long enough to devote myself to something that doesn’t have to be done, right now.

Of course, this writing doesn’t have to be done, either: but I have just been so frustrated that I’m like, “screw all of this.” I need to remember, though, that all workplaces are going to be somewhat dysfunctional. My own workplace is likely particularly so at this point, however.

So…I was just reminded to take my medication. 🙂 I also think it’s best that I put the study away for today, even though I have a lot of review ahead of me. This is due to not having stashed my assignments into ePortfolio pools at the time of their creation.

What I need to remember is that if I don’t commit myself to anything but my work, school, and upkeep, I have a good amount of time that I can devote to studying, on a daily basis. I don’t have children or a full-time job, and I live with family. I do have a disability to contend with, but that’s more of a mental struggle, than anything.

Probably the biggest thing I need to deal with is making sure I don’t go off on anyone from built-up stress, meaning that I’ll need to watch my anger level and give myself breaks when I need them.

Right now I’m being distracted by a show on orchids…it’s easy to get lost in stuff like this and lose track of time. Is that a good thing?

Anyhow…recently, I’ve purchased about…3 yards of fabric, and a large ruler to use in rotary cutting. I’ve just been hesitant to start into cutting and sewing. I have to give myself permission to do that, first. It also requires design, which I can shortcut into by reading and following some of the quilting books I have at the moment.

Right now, I’m considering doing a small model of what I would make, using the cheap fabrics from the big-box fabric store; and use the nice fabric for the final version. Or part of it, anyway.

I do have a bunch of fabric. Maybe tomorrow, I can photograph and upload some images. It will give me something to look forward to.

I’ve also decided that I’ll use the sewing machine, which should make things vastly simpler. There’s no real reason to stitch by hand, except personal preference; and I could make something much faster (and much larger and more complicated) by using a machine.

Sewing reorganization.

I’m going to leave continuation of the career questioning for another day. Today, I cleaned off the craft table (again) and reorganized the sewing, needlework and yarn stuff. I’m posting this to remind myself where everything is.

Basically, every small item needed for sewing besides chalk pencils, DMC embroidery floss, fabric shears, transfer paper, and large or blunt needles, is in the small plastic caddy that used to have my Fat Quarters in it. That is, I’ve moved the sewing machine threads, hand sewing needles, pincushion, pins, marking wheels, both hera, sashiko threads, and thimbles, to the caddy.

The new pack of transfer paper is in my white folder; the white Saral paper is still on the table. Embroidery hoops are in the sewing box with all my fabric, including all the Fat Quarters — both the Kona cotton and the patterned fabric — along with the dark blue cotton I got for embroidery.

My new circle templates for sashiko patternmaking are in the top drawer of the black file; my graph paper is going to live on top of the altar table in my office, for now.

I took the Wool-Eater crochet blanket out of the fabric box, and am thinking that I should probably either finish it or find larger storage for it. It’s pretty large and heavy, right about now. After finishing the final rows, I’ll need to weave in the yarn ends; which isn’t going to be fun, but it will make the thing okay to wash.

It’s fairly late right now…I have work tomorrow, as well. I’ve gotten into the pattern section of Japanese Country Quilting…which I suppose I can read more of, at lunch. I think this is enough writing, for today.

Embroidery; wishing to work with fabric.

Right now, what I want to do is sew, or do something else with color and my hands…like practice my writing in Japanese. Sewing…is just very nice when I want to feel something soft and see something come together. I picked up a number of small cuts of Kona cotton the other day, just to practice embroidery and seaming.

The night before we went to the quilt shop, I realized that I could make a furoshiki as a perfect first embroidery project. (I also found a bilingual book on how to tie furoshiki at the Japanese bookstore.) Basically, a furoshiki is a square wrapping cloth that ties up so that you can carry things in it. I’ve read that these could be reinforced with sashiko embroidery, which is a specific type of embroidery focused on running stitch. I hadn’t entirely planned on going for sashiko.

It uses special thread and is usually somewhat geometric and precise. If I’m remembering correctly, we have red and yellow soft cotton sashiko thread; though I should be able to substitute perle cotton, according to the book Japanese Country Quilting: Sashiko Patterns and Projects for Beginners by Karen Kim Matsunaga.

I have perle cotton crochet thread in mauve, white, ecru, light blue, and variegated green…different sizes. The No. 20 feels substantial, though I also have No. 8 and No. 12. The green is from a company called H.H. Lizbeth, and it has a size that reads as, “80.” I’m…not entirely sure what that means, but it’s the finest perle cotton crochet thread I have.

I did retrieve my little sewing box …with a “cheaper” cotton I can practice on. I say “cheaper” in quotes because it probably cost more than what I just got, even though it is likely lower-quality.

Then again, I have something that I thought was a furoshiki until I opened it, and it was actually a heavily-starched washcloth. The label reads, Shirayuki Fukin,” which I think is the brand. After washing and drying, it fluffed up and softened, dramatically. At one time I had an actual furoshiki, but it’s either deep in storage or with family.

I think the hardest part about doing either quilting or making wrapping cloths, is keeping the dimensions accurate. I bring up quilting because…well, I’ve been thinking of going back to it. It’s just how to cut things en masse that is holding me back. Maybe I should just make little quilted sashiko coasters or something else using other forms of embroidery; just to toy around with things and practice, before I embark on a large project.

Planning possibilities for time — Fall 2018

My sleep pattern is still messed up from Las Vegas. I took a 7-hour nap, today. I also did a little bit of research, given that Fall registration closes, shortly: I would rather not take an internship this next semester, given that one of the more likely positions I would take, had an application deadline which passed 5 months ago.

I also checked for internships in the place we’re thinking of moving to; none of those are any longer open. There is the possibility of working within my own system…but it’s quite far away.

M also says I should be working on graduating. I’m thinking that it’s possible that I will need to schedule time to work on my ePortfolio and stick to it, like a job. Because it is, basically, preparation for a job. From M-F, I should be putting in at least 2 hours, a day, for a total of 10 hours, a week.

I think if I have a scheduled time to stop, it will be easier to commit to starting. Right now what I’ve been doing is checking things online every so often, as they arise. I did drop the class which would have been my third for Fall, yesterday. This means I’ll only have Collection Development, my ePortfolio project, and a possible change of jobs to deal with, for Fall.

I’m also thinking about what I want to put my time, into. I do want to get back to studying nihongo (Japanese language), and it seems my time online might be better spent, learning Web Programming…though the latter isn’t that appealing right now, obviously. I just want to give it another shot, after Fundamentals of Programming: I have a feeling online tutorials might be better than that class was.

Aside from that…obviously, there’s a lot I could do and a limited amount of time in which to do it. Beadwork is what I want to do most immediately, after having spent so long trying to avoid it. Then sewing skills could allow me to make and alter my own clothes, which will be useful. I still have the toile (muslin trial) of that Folkwear monpe (field pant) pattern, to work on. (I’ve stopped because I’ve realized that doing the whole thing by hand is inefficient, especially on long straight seams; I’m not as comfortable with the sewing machine.)

On the other hand, making images would help a lot where it comes to Web Publishing. I can see printmaking, painting, and drawing being helpful, for that. I might want to deal with CGI for that, as well; though regardless, I’ll be using an image editor. I’m just kind of happy about having a Pen Tool — but I haven’t used it, yet.

And then there are the Graphic Design books that I do want to read…I just forget about them because I haven’t read books for anything other than school, in so long.

That’s about enough.

I’m getting a headache right now, although I do also feel a bit fatigued. Part of this is from not wearing corrective lenses. I know what the other part is from.

I think doing some reading on Graphic Design will help me figure out if I actually want to do it as a career or in addition to Web Development. It’s also a relatively passive activity, which may be what I need, at the moment.

Compensation for adulting? (Beads.)

Today I went through my paraprofessional Library qualifying exam, which wasn’t bad. I think I did better than last time; and last time I got an interview, so I think my chances are pretty good. Because I did do that for about two hours, then went to dinner…it’s kind of been a roller coaster, anxiety-wise. Countering that, I received some stuff today which kind of softened the blow.

A lot of this stuff was hanks of Czech seed beads. I think…it would have been easier to pick these if I could have seen them in person before paying for them. I’ve got some interesting color combinations, but not everything was as I expected. I did take some prior-bought hanks out of their plastic bags and just put them into drawers, loose. Because of that, I have ended up tossing some price tags which were just on sticky paper which lost its stickiness long ago — though I think $0.50 per strand (about $6 per hank) is about accurate, for most of them. It averages out.

The tricky part of this is trying to predict what I’m most likely to use so that I can make sure it’s easy to access. I also need to make more of the Czech beads accessible…I’m not sure, though, whether this means to take them off the strands, and if so, how many; or to only disassemble what I know I’m going to use immediately. It’s kind of a pain to have part of my stock readily accessible, and the rest of it somewhere else; but if I purchase beads in large packs…I’ll have to do that.

I basically just bought my first known Matsuno-brand seed beads, which came in a large (40-gram) pack like this. That in itself is kind of interesting, though it would have been nice to be able to see the beads in person (and next to other beads!) to really understand what I was getting. I think I buy more “sophisticated”-looking beads when I can see them next to others and gauge when paying twice as much (or more) is worth it. That said, I’m not sending anything back. I have ideas for them.

I also need to set a date to head to the International Gem & Jewelry Show. One of the vendors I’ve regularly visited at my local Bead Society’s conventions, has a horrible website. The Bead Society conventions have also stopped. If I want to purchase from them, I’ll need to do it either in person or via snail mail. Meeting in person will be a way to pick beads that coordinate, without depending on the quality of the online photos.

The reason I’m even on this is that they have a large stock of Czech seed beads (which are more donut-shaped and less cylindrical) in larger sizes. I’ve actually found this online, as well; but Intergem sounds like a better bet.

And…I did finally get my copper head pins and crystal scarab beads, so I can move forward on updating my earrings and reworking the necklace I posted about, earlier. I also found some Chinese crystal beads in my stock, with which I want to do something now (probably, earrings). Because the bright green seed beads I got almost perfectly match the Crystal Scarabeus 2x coated scarab beads, I’m heavily considering doing a technique such as Chevron Stitch and combining the blue-green Matsuno beads with the bright green.

I also have a bunch of other green beads in different shades, which might work well with those real bright green ones. There are just so many different shades of green!

I also would like to finish the bracelet I began so long ago…it’s almost done, after all. And I did finally find my Erinite-color crystals (they’re a bluish-green), so I can make a button in that shade.

I’d also like to try making something like it, in blue; I just recently got some light blue Czech bugle beads…and am wondering how they will work up with Czech size 11° beads, as versus Japanese size 11° seed beads. They’re bigger than the small bugles I used in this last project, which means that the band will be wider.

The major problem I’m having is that I’m aiming for an LIS career path so that I can have the money to support myself and to have the money to buy, and the time to do, things like this. It’s just kind of hard to focus on the actual job and education bit of it, in the moment — because it is work. That thing about having a job that you love so that you never have to work again? I don’t think that exists, anymore…

Sometimes art is just a time sink.

I think I’ve decided to spend more time engaged with schoolwork, offline craft work, and offline writing — after having gone to a social meeting recently and viewing the cess pool that exists in certain tags on the Reader (making me question why I feel the urge to post here at all). Of course, this is also bridging off of my attention being more divided due to my final project, and restarting my craft blog.

Today, nothing much happened because I was actually tired…but I’ve been tired in the daytime for the past week or so. It’s very likely due to taking medication too late — which I did not, tonight.

Yes, it can be kind of intimidating to do anything real…but the alternative gets me more and more focused on this site and the pursuit of art for its own sake — even if it’s something I don’t want to do. Not to mention, taking up time which would be more wisely spent elsewhere.

Right now I’m thinking that if I do anything creative…I’ll try and channel it into my beadwork, and jewelry design. That includes drawing, and can include painting with gouache and watercolor, by the way (not to mention experimenting with beads and finding tutorials). It’s just a focus.

Not to mention that in trying not to make “tight” drawings or paintings, I’ve ended up not doing many at all. Right now I’m wondering if the push toward “looseness” is just to discourage budding artists from being sharp and exact…thus making crisp images (which some other people can’t do, or don’t want to do).

Right now I think the push towards “looseness” is a fad…because it was obviously not always popular. On the other hand, I’ve been working a good deal with flow in my designs, which I probably wouldn’t have been able to do, if I hadn’t been taught to work loosely.

I have about two weeks until classes restart, and some work to do tomorrow. I did go back to one of my social media sites and…it’s incredibly annoying. Just the fact that it’s not really working that well, and there are the continual policy updates. Someone had messaged me to hook up…via an email not registered with that site. And I can’t find how to add that email. Not that person’s fault, though.

Anyhow. I will go and brush my teeth, put my clothes away, and get to bed; and hope that I can get back to sleep after having slept, this afternoon.

Sounds good.