Just like clockwork, about the same time every year when I look out the window and notice the buds forming on the oak trees surrounding my house, I put down the knitting needles and start digging through my fabric stash. My friend Caleb supposes that knitting just naturally seems to be more of a winter activity but he has no explanation to offer as to why Spring brings the urge to get out the sewing machine.
I have been trying to explain this phenomenon to myself. One explanation could be the assortment of bright cotton and linen fabrics I have just waiting to be made into warm-weather clothing. I like sewing clothes for warm weather better than sewing for cold weather. Once upon a time when I lived in a colder place and had access to nice wool fabrics I sewed more wintery things. Of course, I worked outside my home then, so I had need for more presentable clothes. Now winter means jeans, flannel pajama pants, sweatshirts, and a scarf or shawl to keep my neck and shoulders warm.
Even though many people consider quilting to be just as wintery as knitting, I like to quilt in the spring and summer. The variety of colors and prints available in nice cotton fabrics nowadays is staggering. I would challenge anyone to walk into the average quilt fabric shop and not find something that appeals to them.
"Quilting" encompasses so much more than just making bedcovers. It can cover a wide variety of fabric arts and crafts, like art quilts, wall-hangings, kitchen and home items, wearable art, —really anything to do with fabrics and fibers. Right now I am making aprons—really, really GAUDY aprons! Next, I intend to get out some PFD (prepared for dying) silk scarves I bought and try my hand at doing my own fabric designs. So if you see me wearing a funny-looking scarf in town in the coming months, you will know what happened! Please be kind and tell me "it’s, um, INTERESTING!" I also want to try manipulating some photographs on the computer then printing them on fabric. I have incorporated photographs into sewing projects before, but I have not tried using highly manipulated and abstracted images. In the past I have used the prepared printable fabric sheets, but now I have all the supplies to make my own printable fabric and will be trying that out as well.
I think I just identified another reason why spring is sewing season for me—the photo opportunities! I love to document the changes that occur as the plants awaken and the birds migrate. I have been going on regular wildflower surveys around the ranch all winter and have determined that, barring any disastrous freezes or sudden heat and drought, we are going to have the best wildflower year in twenty or thirty years. That should yield some epic photographs and enough creative inspiration to last me quite a while.
One final explanation for the spring thing—the tactile quality. I love good-feeling fabrics, especially soft cotton and linen. A book I read recently said that linen is the fiber of the gods, and I agree completely. I know a lot of people do not like it because it is so wrinkly and rumply, but that’s just a part of the charm for me. I would rather wear something ugly that feels good than something that looks great but makes me feel hot or, heaven forbid, itchy. There are people reading this saying, "Well that explains a lot!" I’ll see all of you amongst the bluebonnets in a couple of weeks—I’ll be the one in the gaudy, wrinkled outfit!