Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sew Forth and Sew On!

Living in Nanjing China without children underfoot leads people to ask,

 "So, like, what DO you DO all day?"

One thing I've been doing is sewing up a STORM!  My Janome 6600P was shipped over and so were bins and bins of fabric.  I love to create quilts.  Many are for newborns or new Grandmoms, and I've been "commissioned" to do a few for others. Babies could care less about a crooked seam or two and they LOVE bright colors.
I've definitely cornered a forgiving and playful market.

My stash (that's quilt-talk) takes up an entire wall in my sewing cave...and that's only half of what I've brought. Creative types will tell you that hoarding pallets full of the right STUFF will result in a wide-arrayed palette of possibilities. 

I've got that one DOWN, believe me...

These shelves were filled with Chinese textbooks. The landlord offered to leave them. 
 I had a more COLORFUL plan.

Just as at home in Michigan, I love that my sewing cave is out of the way. It occupies our lowest level, but still has natural light through 3 windows.  Creating anything the "Cricket Way" creates an EXPLOSION of color, books, 'pulled' fabric, sewing notions and STUFF stacked on top of more STUFF.The process is one of options and opportunity resulting in decision and design. Ever so folky and FUN!

Through the years I've learned to write things in a notebook.  Things like the best settings for my machine to do this or that. Or the measurements of my brother's rental units which I made some curtains for one summer day. I often sketch something that is in my mind and need to "get it down" on be later filled in with the details of what evolved.  I do this not because anyone else will EVER read it but it helps ME reference what I've tried and accomplished.

BuBuBu is the name of the Fabric Market in Nanjing, China. I've been twice to the two-story building. Basically there are two floors of vendors and tailors...think arts and craft fair in a very tight space.  It's hard to tell where one person's "shop" stops and the other begins.  Custom draperies and custom clothing can be made here so there are many booths with home decorating fabric or trouser-like fabric.  I was disappointed in the quality of the 100% cotton selection.  It was not the quilt quality I am accustomed to snapping up at brick and mortar quilt shops back home or online.  (Even though many of those are made here in the Middle Kingdom.)

The fabric markets of Shanghai (an hour and twenty minutes from Nanjing on a high speed train)  await my arrival.  I'm expecting trumpeters at the entrance as I enter with my hand clutching my MasterCard. They say it's amazing and I can barely wait to see what they specialize in - silks.   This is not a place I would take the Big Guy unless there was a cigar bar or a Starbucks within a reasonable walk.  He would undoubtedly ask me "How long do you think you're gonna be?" And I would have to give him the bespectacled look OVER my glasses and know that he would get the message that I have NO idea and it could be a VERY, VERY, LONG time. 

I delight in naming each one of my if they were newborns.  This appears on a tag on the back of the quilt. Along with the title is my name and date and the recipient's name too.  Just a few months ago I signed my little treasures:

Carol Johnson~Livonia, Michigan

 and now they read 

Carol Johnson~Nanjing, China

I am truly blessed to be here, in this place, doing what I love to do:
CREATE one HOT MESS and have something to show for it.

And that, my friends, is just ONE of the things I do with my day.

Thanks for Reading,

All "babies" were returned unharmed to their rightful owner.

Throughout this post you will find:

"Constantin Da Dao"      for Baby Constantin Ritz
"Go Aaron James, Go!" for newborn Aaron James Quan
"Hoo-ville"                     for Sharon Brown & her grandbabies
"Giraffe Lu"                   for Rita's friend
"Frisco Sky"                 for soon-to-be Connor Rowan (unseen because it's a SURPRISE!)


Becca said...

Sittimg here in Epcot wiping tears from my lucky am I to have such a talented friend . You are a true artiste and I am in awe!!

Barb said...

Love the quilts! Thanks for sharing in your blog.

Anonymous said...

Love the pic of your sewing with Casey on the couch! And the Giraffe!

Love you so!

-Garrett (who didn't feel like signing into his google account)

Allison Joy! said...

Um...Garrett stole my EXACT words. Sheesh. (Think we were raised under the SAME roof?!?!)

Love the sewing cave pic (with mom and Casey in their natural habitats), love the quilts (especially the whimsical giraffe)!!


Franziska Ritz said...

Just beautiful!!

Cindy said...

So cool!!! They are all beautiful...but the giraffe is amazing!!

Anonymous said...

I love your work and it is so fun to read about what you like in life.

The Chinese word behind the recent work reads "Fa Cai" it means getting more and more money...

Julia X

Glee said...

How beautiful, Carol!

Katrin said...

Wanted to go to BuBuBu today, so searched on Google and your blog came up :) Hope you are well, and see you soon (NIC BBQ perhaps?)