Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My October Surprise

I'm not running for President so my October surprise won't affect next week's election, but it is pretty significant around here. A while back I mentioned that I had a big announcement to make this fall. And last week I told you all about one of my designs being published in the new Quilting Arts magazine, Stitch. Well today the editor wrote me and told me that the magazine is being introduced at the Houston Quilt Festival this week and has already been shipped to independent fabric and quilt stores. This has prompted me to reveal my exciting news because I included this bit of information in my bio for the article. Several of you already guessed my news, but for those who haven't or don't even know what I'm talking about, I'm writing a book. The focus of this book is patterning and dyeing fabric with wax resist and will include projects as well. I've been steadily working on writing instructions for the various projects and am just about ready to start on the technique chapters. The book is slated to be published by Lark Books in the Fall of 2009.
At first this felt like a huge project, too huge really. But my editor has broken it down into smaller, more manageable pieces, so I'm down to just one anxiety attack per day. Actually, I'm really enjoying the process and am excited to discover something new that I like to do. Part of the reason I felt emboldened to take on this project had to do with the many times folks have asked me how I make my fabrics. The interest in this process that I've discovered here and on flickr has made me feel like I had something I wanted to share and that others were interested. I am truly grateful for the interest you all have shown and the kind words you've sent my way.
This process has affected what I work on and what I photograph and, to a great degree, what images I post here and on flickr. But I can't imagine a post without a photo so...

This beauty is called Bat Face Cuphea. Do you see the bat's face? I love this plant and it's blooming in my garden, like it always does this time of year. Perfect for Halloween.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Little Bits

I don't have loads to say tonight but wanted to post these pictures of my newest quilt. I also wanted to let you all know about a new, special issue publication from the folks at Quilting Arts Magazine. The magazine is called Stitch and is a," a special issue devoted to the creative possibilities of sewing wearables, home decor, accessories, and gifts." I'm really excited to have one of my designs included in this issue. It won't be available on the newsstands until November 11, but is available for pre-order here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New and new to me

Being an inherently lazy housekeeper I often stack things at the base of the steps with the intent of putting them in their proper place,"next time I go upstairs". Now if I were to determine how often I ascend the stairs by the frequency with which these items are put away, I'd have to assume that I never go upstairs. Well, last night I did go upstairs and, this time, with an armload of things. Abi accompanied me and asked me what I was putting away.
There were...

new-to-me vintage buttons from my favorite junk store (I can't even count the number of times I dumped these buttons out of the bag to get this shot) . The lady at the store bagged them for me in what she described as a "vintage popcorn bag".

Another new item that ascended to the second floor and therefore closer to my sewing machine was new fabric.

I bought these from Purl Patchwork and spent more per yard then I think I've ever spent. But these are so worth it. They are Japanese imports and are so amazingly beautiful that I worry I won't be able to go back to $8/yard fabric let alone buy from the remnant section.

I'm even in love with the selvedges.
The black and white print is slated for another Amy Butler Anna Tunic/Dress for myself and the fabric with the fabulously delicate drawings printed on it is a future dress for Abi.
The third item I hauled up the stairs last night was a bag of vintage patterns from the same junk store. No "fancy" packaging for these patterns, but no matter.

This is the pattern for Abi's dress. She's very excited about it and I'm so grateful for that. She's my youngest and the only one who'll even go to the junk store with me let alone want a vintage dress sewn from Japanese fabric. And she's also the only one that would even notice that I actually made a dent in the various piles at the base of the stairs.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

All Dressed Up

I've been on a bit of a rampage lately. It seems like every other day I'm swept away by a desire to sew a garment, mostly for myself, of course. First there was my foray into my most beloved pattern, Burda 7798. I made it as a top, then a dress, then (here's the revelation part) another dress, then another dress for my middle girl and yet another for my daughter's friend. Yes, that's right, I love this dress so much that I'm making it for somebody else's daughter. And don't think I haven't tried to convince my eldest that she would look fabulous in one of these dresses. "Just pick out some fabric," I plead, " I'll even pay for it." So far she's resisting me. But that's OK because while she ponders whether or not she wants us to appear in public sporting identical frocks, I've been busy making Amy Butler's Anna Tunic as a dress.

The pattern can be made as a cami, tunic, or dress. I opted for the latter and I'm very happy with the final product. I'm definitely making this pattern again, though I did find the dress a little big and will probably size the pattern down to the small size. I've made another Amy Butler pattern before and am so impressed with the detailed instructions and the attention to ensuring that the item is beautifully crafted both inside and out. Her patterns are more expensive that most, but absolutely worth it.

I've also recently sewn the Built by Wendy pattern, Simplicity 3835, again, surprisingly, as a dress. Here too I'd made the top and decided to tackle the dress. I opted to keep the raglan sleeves rather than the sleeves/neck finishing that the pattern calls for. This dress is OK, but not a stunner. I can see wearing it to putter around, but I'm not wowed with the results. I'm not as down on it as my eldest, who described it as a nightgown, but I'm not bubbling over with excitement.

Despite any disappointments I'm so enjoying making these that I seem to be spending a fair amount of time trying to figure out when I can squeeze in a few minutes to cut out the next pattern. In fact I was looking through some of the pattern books the other day and was elated to see so many wonderful dress patterns. I am obviously not done with this particular obsession.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Dumping Pictures

Not too long ago I received an invitation on flickr to join a group whose entire focus was to get members to dump their entire photostreams into the group. I think the point of this was to create the biggest flickr group. I didn't join. I just couldn't see the point. But today I'm doing a mini, very mini, version of this. I'm uploading a series of unrelated photos just because. I don't even have a goal. I just want to get the pictures out there. I will say that they were all taken in one day. So if I have a criteria for this picture dump, it would be that. Who knows? If I like the way these images look together, I might do this again.

My friend Vicki was admiring a reversible bag that I had made and was using to carry my knitting. Needless to say, that's all it took for me to offer to make her one. In the end I made two because I wanted her to have a choice. She chose the one with the squiggles fabric.

I have a customer who has an amazing collection of Oilily fabric and this is probably the tenth item I've made for her using this fabric.

Imagine this photo without the white pick up truck. A little difficult considering this is Texas, but do your best. Is the truck gone? Good. Now enjoy this wonderful combination of colors. This building is located near the Austin Community College central campus and I discovered it a couple of weeks ago. I was turning a corner and it caught my eye. This picture was taken during the week, but I'm planning on returning on a Sunday when I won't have to imagine the cars away. Ever since I noticed this building I've started to notice other buildings that display great color combinations.
So there you have it. One day's worth of pictures.