Monday, July 30, 2007

Traveling Togs

Well, not exactly togs, but I've made Abi a little travel set for our trip. She and I have both kept travel journals in the past and we've even made the journals before, but this one's different.
I've made several different book forms , but never out of fabric. It required several adaptations. I used both interfacing and batting in the front and back cover of this journal and quilted them as well. It gave them some weight and firmness. I also added eyelets to keep the fabric from fraying where I poked holes and used a fingering weight yarn to sew the pages to the covers. I thought Abi would get a kick out of the buttoned fastener. It might make the book feel all the more private, like a diary.
So the girl also wanted a matching bag to carry her journal, pencils, camera, etc. in. She picked out the fruit print and I got to select the handle fabric and lining. Here too, the bag and handles are quilted. I'm really happy with the way this bag turned out and particularly glad about the smile Abi's traveling set elicited on her face.
We're off tomorrow to Mexico, so I won't be posting for a week or so. Adios, everybody!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Week in Review

In reviewing my week, I can tell you one thing I haven't done much of and that's posting. I have been reading blogs, but I've been busy sewing, dyeing and crocheting( yes, I'm still working on my ripple blanket). I'll be going out of town Tuesday of next week, so, I thought that I should update my blog before too much more time goes by.
I spent some time this week batiking.
Two new colorways of my E block fabric. I'm planning on using this fabric to make a camera case to safely tote mine around. I'm also putting together a batik tutorial, but that is going kind of slowly. It never dawned on me how many little steps and variables there are in the process. And how important it is to document those steps. I've begun taking pictures, but it won't be ready before I leave.
Another top?!!Yep. And today I'm going to make a new top for Abi. I am so loving sewing clothes lately. It's the ultimate in quick, satisfying project and you don't have to ask folks if they'd like to see what you've made, you're your own walking advertisement.
Also, I made this patchwork keyhole scarf using two colorways of my full circle fabric. It seemed like a good way to use up leftovers too small for garments. I've added this one to my shop .
Hope everyone has had a good week and is looking forward to an even better weekend.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Full Circle

Remember Telly on Sesame Street? He was one of the many lovable monsters who lived there. Telly often passionately proclaimed his love of one particular shape, the triangle. He wrote poems about triangles, searched them out in his adventures on the street and sang heartfelt odes to this three-sided shape. I used to tell my kids that I too had a favorite shape, but mine was(and is) the circle.
I can honestly say, though not without feeling a little ridiculous, that I love circles. And they have appeared in and influenced my work many times.
I've been making fabric the past few days and, naturally, round shapes appeared.
Hand dyed and batiked fabric is all well and good, but the real fun is in crafting it into something. Even better if you can wear or use that something.
I am wearing this baby tomorrow and I am amazingly, stupidly excited about that.
The tote's not new. I made the fabric and bag at least two years ago, but I still have the stamp and I really love circles.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Zip Zip

One of the cool things about teaching is the way it inspires you to do new things. In my desire to present my students with projects that they'll really want to make, I'm motivated to try new designs and design new items. That was the case with this:
The group of kids I taught last week were so enthused about sewing that they finished the projects I had planned for them by Thursday. That left Friday with nothing to work on. So, Thursday afternoon, I engineered this little pouch. I needed to keep it simple and quick because I was teaching 10 year olds and they only had 2 or so hours to make the pouch.
Here's a sampling of what they made plus mine. Pretty talented girls, huh?
That's not the end of my story, though. The great thing about being inspired is that it often has legs of its own.
I made these on Sunday and added them to my shop last night. These were a little more involved than the one I made as a class sample. I quilted both the front and back and, on three out of the four pouches, I used my hand dyed stuff. But, the inspiration came from the same place and that, and the kids, makes teaching worth it. Oh yeah, getting paid doesn't suck either.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Camping? in Texas? In July? No, I'm not going camping. I'm not even thinking about it. But, I am teaching some summer camps this summer and having a lot of fun at the same time. And it's all done inside. Whew!
Anyway, I'm teaching a sewing camp this week to a really great group of 9 and 10 year olds(all girls). I started them out with a little tour of their sewing machines. I showed each one the various parts of her machine, demonstrated how to thread it, and then asked her to show me that she knew how to thread it on her own. This I learned from the first time I taught kids to sew on machines. I was so excited to see what they would make that I had them just start on their first project without giving them a lot of instruction on machine use. Well, I spent the next few days constantly rethreading machines, winding bobbins and fixing other little mishaps. Things have been different since then. I became a big believer in a little bit of knowledge can go a long way.
Their first project is coasters. This allows them to learn about piecing, maintaining a seam allowance, putting right sides together, etc.
They started out piecing strips.
Once they felt pretty comfortable with that, I showed them how to make log cabin like blocks and half square triangles. I've really been impressed with these girls. Sometimes kids will complain that something new is too hard and be reluctant to try. These girls, however, have been super eager and excited to learn new things.
We began the second project today. The girls each took their measurements and drafted a pattern for a top. I based the project on this tutorial , although I had to make a few changes. Needless to say, I made myself a version of the tank as well.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Mistakes are part of the process.

But they're not the best part. Sometimes I feel like before I can move forward, I've got to step backwards or at least just sideways. The other day, I posted about my newest knitting project. Well, I was tearing back a couple rows to fix a mistake and I discovered that I must have made an error when I calculated the gauge. Anyway, it's too damn big. So I had to frog the entire thing and start from the beginning.
When I was taking the knitting apart, my eldest said she couldn't believe I was doing that. I responded that there wasn't any point in going on if it wasn't going to turn out well. I could be somewhat disappointed now, recast my stitches and start again, or make a tank 3 sizes too big. Not a great choice, but the decision seemed pretty obvious.
Episode two in the two steps back, one step forward drama is this:
I was so excited about making this top. I've had quite a bit of clothes sewing success, so I was expecting more of the same. Nope. The pattern as I cut it out is just a hair too small, but enough to need adjusting. I don't like the side zipper, so I'm going to redraft the pattern to place the zipper in back. In other words, I'm going to need to make a muslin of this pattern before I can try it out on any more decent fabric. Wait! What's that I hear? Could it be the sound of my feet shuffling backwards?
OK. It's not all frustration. I do have these pictures of a new work in progress and some new coasters for my shop , so I guess I'm not seeing everything in the rear view mirror.
But, when you spend hours, precious hours, working on something and it ends up in experience, but no product....

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

New Knitting

As if I didn't have enough projects in the works, I've decided to take on another one. I posted last week about some new clothes I've sewn for myself and since then I've made another top using some repurposed fabric. This week, I thought it would be fun to knit myself a summer tank as well.
For some unknown reason, I selected a project out of the Spring rather than Summer issue. There are several things I'd like to knit out of the Summer issue, but I'm tackling this one first.
This being Texas and despite the torrential rain we've had here lately, I never considered making anything other than a tank. I'm not using the exact yarn called for, but Rowan's all season's cotton. I really love this yarn. It's soft and very washable(50/50 cotton/acrylic).
And I totally love this blue. It seems so fresh.
The stitch pattern is particularly lovely. It's a lace stitch, but knitted, at least partly over large needles. The combination creates a beautifully airy fabric. I am super excited about wearing this top, so, hopefully, that will keep me motivated to finish this project quickly. Of course, that doesn't mean I won't start other projects in the next few days. My hope is that I'll be able to balance them and move them all forward to completion. Keep your fingers crossed.

Monday, July 2, 2007

A Gift for Rachel

Rachel can go to bed tonight with a new sham on her bed. Will that guarantee sweet dreams? I don't know. But I'm happy to have made it for her and even happier that she likes it.
I have more plans for the number fabric from IKEA, but more about that later.