what I’ve been up to

Hi again It’s ME.

Got away from blogging for a bit, didn’t I? I was surprised to see how long it had been since my last posts, since I didn’t have anything impressive accomplished during my “hiatus”.

I have been taking 2 online classes this month–one based on sewing, and one on my other favorite hobby of paper crafting. In a way the 2 classes are related. The sewing class is from Craftsy.com called Stupendous Stitching. The final project will be an “art” piece suitable for framing, based on machine decorative stitches, hand embroidery, and embellishing through couching etc. Right now I am working on what the instructor is calling a “stitch bible”. The idea is to make a sample book (fabric actually) of all the stitches that your machine will do, in the default mode and with changes to the stitch length and width. I have done this for a few of my frequently used stitches, but not on “nice” fabric, and not in any organized way. This time I am going in order from stitch #1 forward through them all, with planned divisions on each page where I change, and note, the stitch length change and stitch width change. I have always advised my students to play with those umpteen stitches we had to have on our machines, but seldom use. Now I am following my own advice and am having fun seeing all the “new” stitches I get via the variations. I have chosen a nice fabric for the base of each page (from my stash 🙂  ), and will have a good reference “bible” when I finish this step. My next homework assignment is to choose some nice threads and begin to build the structure of the art piece on a fat quarter. That is a ways off since I have quite a few stitches on my machine to sample. I need a nice rainy day to stitch away for hours without feeling like I need to be working outdoors.

The paper crafting class I’m taking is called “Stretch Your Stamps”. The idea in this one is to use the stamps one owns for multiple purposes, not just the obvious use of the stamped image. Sometimes it’s through a new ink technique, or a new paper, or cutting the stamp into pieces (gasp!). Basically, the concept is to make the most of the supplies one has on hand, in creative, sometimes unexpected, ways. I’m pretty good at that with fabric and thread, but need some nudging with my paper supplies. I’m finding that as I go through the lessons, I think of ways to transfer the new creative applications over to my sewing world and vice versa. For example, the multiple papers used as backgrounds to some of the stamped projects could transfer to become pieced backgrounds behind applique designs. Changing stitch lengths and widths can transfer to curving, stretching, and reversing stamped images.

I am enjoying these online classes because I can work through them on my own schedule. I can pause them when I need to; I can take several days to get through one lesson or I can do several lessons in one day. I can work on the lessons at unusual hours of the day. The price of this type of lesson series is generally very reasonable as well. In both cases the teachers are available for consultation via e-mail, and there are galleries of what the other students in the class are doing. Very inspirational. I haven’t posted anything to the galleries-need a better camera! These classes are making me want to make that investment instead of relying on the camera in my phone.

How about you? Do you like using the computer/internet for learning new things? Gotta step into the new age, folks, and make ourselves take advantage of the technology around us. Despite the annoying glut of it in modern culture, there are so many advantages if we can make it work for us. (OK, I’ll get off my soapbox now.)


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