I have a very tight deadline to meet in order to complete and photograph the 3 Totems that I want to enter into a juried show. There was also the added pressure of school holidays, considering a full teaching week ahead and the prospect of packing longarm machines and driving to Uttoxeter the following week. This meant that the totems had to be almost finished by the weekend. Somehow, I managed to sew almost all day ALL week and amazed myself that by Saturday I had got as far as I could.
I have ordered the large upholstery foam columns which should arrive by Wednesday so the final challenge will be fitting everything together as neatly as possible. I made quilted ends to look like tree trunk cross sections, bottoms with velcro attached in case they need to be stuck down if it looks like they may topple over, and plenty of bias binding for piping. I have bought cording and ribbon that I hope will act like corset strings once I have punched eyelets into the leather quilt, and checked that all of the hand-sewn gems are securely attached.
Over the course of the week I added a linen mid-section to the totem quilt that will be behind the goatskin one and quilted it with dead straight lines as a contrast to the swirly quilting on the leather. Next I drew out some circles onto calico for the back of the silver spandex totem – some were roughly Celtic and others were just circles that I would fill in later. Finally, I manically pieced skinny curved strips with some inserts for the 3rd totem and quilted it with great restraint in simple verticals. This was done with considerable trepidation since I don’t usually go in for subtle quilting but I think it was a wise choice.
I could easily have been side-tracked by the arrival of the fabulous Coracle. Helen Jackson did an amazing job of weaving long willow wands into a proper little boat, complete with a neat wicker seat. I had to hang it straight up in my workshop so that I would not be tempted to start trying to fit its chamois skin before finishing the totems. This exciting and fiddly job will have to wait until I get back from Uttoxeter. I think it will take me a considerable while to sew on all of its amber and blue glass beads!
My longarm upgrade also arrived this week but so far I have just peeped inside the boxes as I would like a free weekend and a willing assistant to get it all set up. I will have new super smooth rails, a new machine and even a hydraulic lift which should mean that I can quilt more comfortably for even more hours at a time.
Mind you, I have to allow time to try and focus on the Ebook that is developing out of the original, neglected Yurt Book. The publisher has made helpful suggestions on how to cut out some of the vast quantity of slightly less relevant information, concentrating more on techniques and inspiration. If I ever did publish the original Yurt Book as planned, it would have several mighty volumes and may not appeal to everyone;)