Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A YoYo Couple of Days

 (Above:  The Cocoon, in progress.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Just as I entered my second of a five-week art residency at the Rensing Center outside Pickens, South Carolina, my faithful old Bernina sewing machine started to give out.  It is currently at We're In Stitches, a Bernina dealership in nearby Greenville. Amazingly, the machine continued to operate even after all the teeth on one belt had been worn totally away.  There's a broken screw and a faulty wheel ... and parts are now on order.  I had no other choice (other than to drive back to Columbia for my other machine) than to turn my attention to some hand stitching.

(Above:  Detail of one of the panels showing the saved, crocheted edge from a doily stitched attached by buttons.)

Originally, my plan was to construct as many panels as needed to fill all the pipe assemblage that I bought with a grant from the SC Arts Commission.  I got enough to build a 20' x 20' enclosure.  Knowing the size of my apartment/studio, I thought I would only be able to build a 10' x 10' cube.  I planned to construct enough panels for the smaller size, take them down, and build the same amount again.  After all these panels were constructed, my plan was to turn my attention to the hand work.


Yet, the ceiling isn't uniformly high enough to build the cube.  Basically, my plan was shot on Day One!  So, what makes the difference if I start the hand embellishments early?  Not a problem ... especially since the sewing machine is in the shop!

 (Above:  Photo of collected belt buckles and just a few of the YoYos.)

After returning from the Bernina shop late on Monday morning, I decided to tackle the two yoyo quilts with a seam ripper.  Both were falling apart.  I thought it would be simple disassemble them, but I was SO WRONG!  Just because some of the pieces weren't stitched together well, it didn't mean the rest weren't very, very secure.  I must have stabbed myself a dozen times.  What appeared like a couple hours of work turned into the rest of the day.  I didn't actually finish.  I'm only at the halfway point with either yoyo quilt!  Yet, I did manage to end up with plenty of individual yoyos to stitch onto The Cocoon!

Of course, once I ripped out the hand-stitching that held these yoyos together, it was a matter of hand stitching them to my project!  One at a time!  Often standing on a step stool!

But don't they look great?  Don't they add to the feeling of a comfortable, soft, safe, nostalgic, and "homey" atmosphere?  Isn't this the setting for story-telling and family memories?  Isn't this a scene for a quilting bee and all the gossip and friendships that surround communities of people who make things by hand?  This is exactly the environment I'm trying to create!

Even though I can't erect my intended cube, I did find a location just inside the front door where another set of pipes can stand!

(Above:  10' length of panels just inside my apartment door.)

I've been working really hard to finish up both this side (above) ....

... and it's other side!  Why?  Well, tomorrow an upright washer/dryer is to be installed in my apartment/studio.  I don't think the machine will fit through the front door with my pipe assemblage there!  It needs to be moved ... so it needs to be done!  Hopefully by later tonight, I'll have this entire section FINISHED (and taken back down!)

In addition to the yoyos, I attached several gloves, belt buckles, and a few articles of clothing, including this once fine christening gown.  It was damaged beyond expectations for any infant to ever wear again, but it certainly adds to my installation.  What memories it must hold!

Next to the christening gown is this enormous crocheted doily.  It measures close to 40" in diameter.  It would not lay flat.  In truth, it is pretty ugly ... but it looks great on the floral tablecloth ... and it only took a couple of hours to hand stitch it there!  If this isn't bringing new life to old, neglected textiles, what is?  Hopefully, my machine will be repaired soon and I'll be back to fashioning more panels on which I can hand stitch more embellishments like this!

(Above:  The Pickens County Recycling Center.)

One way or the other, I'm not spending every minute with a threaded needle.  I've been daily walking down to the little waterfalls that are on the back of the Rensing property.  I'll share photos later!  Plus, I've been to the Pickens County Recycling Center!  It's a blast!  Everything has its place and the people are friendly.  Recycling is fun!

I am linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber arts. 


Marni Fisher said...


I've been following your ongoing installment and the yoyo's are a wonderful addition. For me it gives my eyes a place to stop. All the different pieces of linens and clothes appeared to me as just a jumble. You are so lucky to have the vision to create art like this.

Connie said...

I love how your imagination works . . . uniquely your own style. Gorgeous!!!

Shirlee Fassell said...

It’s really taking shape! Love the addition of the doilie, buttons, yo-yos etc! At our Christmas fair we sometimes ge piles of lovely linens and no one wants them! It’s really sad!

Gwyned Trefethen said...

What stands out for me, is how nothing deters you from your machine. Every obstacle becomes an opportunity.

Heather Pregger said...

Wow. Just wow. The ongoing installation is wonderful.