Nika Feldman: Traveling with needle

While I may forget a comb or pajamas, it is rare that I hit the road without knitting or reading. On a recent overnight sail, I found myself in one of Gloucester’s book stores, looking for a quick read.

Leisurely deck reading of American Craft Nika Feldman

All magazines on deck!

Unwilling to commit myself to an entire book, I picked up the most recent American Craft magazine.  Nika Feldman, the subject of the August/September feature, is a woman after my own heart.  This woman travels, relates, communicates with a needle, thread and scissors. I always travel with knitting needles and yarn, eschewing quilting as less portable. How could that change?

Mulling over ways to bring quilting into my travels, I realize that a sketchbook and pencil fell of my travel packing list. Ten years ago, these tools lived in my purse. The arrival of the iPhone pushed it out of my bag. It was too easy to snap a photo, and my purse was lighter, smaller. Sketching should re enter my daily habits and most definitely return to my travel packing list.  Shouldn’t everyone draw?

At one time, drawing was a skill crucial to education. Travel journals consisted of words, sketches, watercolors. Of course, at this point, I always turn to Isabella Stuart Gardner’s travel journals. As she neared the end of her life, Isabella burned her letters, but chose to keep her travel journals. How do you remember your travels? Selfies? T shirts? Art? Magnets? Post cards or other ephemera? Matchbooks, coasters or cocktail napkins?

Would drawing change your relationship with the place? Clearly, traveling with a needle, scissors and thread completely frames Feldman’s work. She has the benefit of time on her side… no quick sailing trips to Gloucester… but your travel experience would definitely change if you drew or stitched.

So much for deckside knitting comtemplation.

Doodle, Draw & Muscle Memory

Doodle, Draw & Muscle Memory

Two mornings spent with Sue Heinz at the Machine Quilters Expo reignited my desire to draw.

longarm sketching practice at Machine Quilters ExpoThe time nudged me into carrying a sketch pad in my purse again. Sue claims that we build muscle memory just through practice, even if you’re swinging between pencil and longarm.

Doodling is a nice, mindful way to spend a couple of minutes. I’m hesitant to spend much time creating many motifs from others, but there are definitely skill sets being built by copying. Ideally, my work will develop its own vocabulary, depending on the piece.

On a bed quilt, these shapes are simply lovely. Sue had some fantastic samples that made me want to buy more thread. However, my ample stash of machine embroidery cotton will do me just fine for now.

Practice, practice, practice.