Behind the Times

It’s funny how things don’t always work out quite the way you’ve planned. More than a month ago, when I decided to take out an ad in Quilting Arts magazine, I thought I’d have plenty of time to pull a few introductory pdf patterns together. After all, the ideas have been brewing inside my brain for quite some time. I just had to pluck them out and put them on digital paper. Alas, it just wasn’t meant to be. Illustration opportunities, a few family crises and other unplanned activities conspired to keep me away from Missy Stitches. I even lost the first draft of this posting in an unexplained power outage. For a while, it seemed the universe was against this little endeavor.

Still, all the stops and starts and stolen moments have allowed me to think things through. Recent experiences have reinforced my commitment to focus on recycling and re-purposing materials. Not only is going green a great way to save money, finding new ways to use what you already have on hand can be fun, and is essential for the earth. My belief that creating things can be healing is stronger than ever. Whether I’m stitching or painting or planting seeds for the future, I feel better when I’m making things.

So, if you came to this site expecting to find projects, patterns and techniques for repurposed fabric, rest assured that they are in the works and on the way! Let me know if you’d like to be notified when the first batch arrives. I’d love to hear from you.

Summer Camp

Campers signed this map painted on a black sheet

Every year, our small town is taken over. Thousands of under thirty-somethings flock to Three Sisters Park for Summer Camp, a music festival featuring over 60 bands on 5 stages over 3 days. Campers start showing up at the park on Wednesday, then literally pour through the gates on Thursday to set up their tents for the Friday through Sunday festival. The music is very loud, and there are the usual problems you might expect when that many people share a small space. In a lot of ways, it’s a zoo. So I was a little apprehensive when the Folk Art School decided to set up a fundraising tent at the event.

Painting t-shirts at summer campThe festival attracts a modern hippie sort of crowd. Think Woodstock, but without any political agenda. For the most part, the ‘kids’ are simply there to enjoy the music and have a good time. Once you get past the man skirts, nipple rings and dreadlocks, you start to notice how very polite everyone is. It’s quite an eye-opener in a lot of ways.

I worked up signage for the school tent, grunge-painting (more on that technique to come!) cheap sheeting for ‘Make Your Mark’ signups and tent banners. Campers were invited to sign their state or add their art to the sheets, and a drawing was held to give those items away.

Percussion instruments at Summer CampWe also offered recycled t-shirts to paint and re-fashion, fairy wings, tote bags, bandannas (in honor of Willie Nelson, who performed Sunday night), plus Sit ‘N’ Knit kits for creating iPod cases and Sit ‘N’ Sew coin purse kits. Unfortunately, most of those items missed the mark with the crowd, so we didn’t raise as much money as we’d hoped.

The Sound Garden, though, was a big hit. Using cast-off pvc pipes and outdated LP tanks, the guys in the group crafted one-of-a-kind musical instruments. Leftover electrical conduit became a sweet-sounding xylophone. A jingle bell wreath found new life as a tambourine. Got an old wind chime? It’s the perfect percussion piece.

Propane tank drums

Will we do this again next year? Maybe, with a better understanding of what the crowd enjoys, and a lot more sunscreen. And oh, yes. Open eyes.