Friday, May 28, 2010

The antidote... this:

might just be this:

It's been a rough week here. Nothing life threatening, sort of...well actually. The week began with my eldest talking about how the foot that she thought she sprained was still hurting quite a bit and maybe the time had come to consult a bona fide health professional as opposed to just waiting for it to go away. That's standard operating procedure around here. Turns out the sprain is actually a break, but luckily not a severe one. You haven't experienced relief until you've watched the face of an 18-year old girl as she's told that she's not going to need an orthopedic boot.
Then my husband was involved in a head on bicycle accident. Thankfully, he was wearing a helmet. You should always wear a helmet! So, all that was broken was his left thumb. Good news, except he has to have surgery to fix the thumb. Still it could have been worse.
I learned about our third little bit of news when I came home from swim team yesterday morning. I was greeted with,"Mom you need to call Sarah because she's been in an accident." My panic was limited to a few short seconds because I reached her on the phone and learned that both she and her friend were not hurt. My poor girl had been driving home, approaching an intersection with a green light, when she heard a fire truck siren. She realized the fire truck was entering the intersection as well, so she slammed on her brakes to avoid running into the fire truck. Good reaction. Unfortunately, the suburban behind her didn't hear the siren and didn't react quickly enough. Thus, I have one incredibly smushed car. I'll find out later today whether it's mashed beyond repair.
First off, I'm so grateful that all we have to deal with is a thumb that is temporarily bent in the wrong direction and a Honda Civic sans a recognizable trunk. Things could have been tragic, but they're not. They're mostly irritating. So, my solution to irritation is to do something that makes me happy--like sew something new to wear.
Even better is that I made something I've been wanting to make for a long time. I've sewn skirts before, but I have been wanting to sew a mock patchwork skirt for a long time. My inspiration came from this amazing patchwork dress I saw someone wearing on the street several years ago. I was in my car and she was walking along the sidewalk and I nearly had my own version of Sarah's accident because I was so distracted by her patchwork frock. I have toyed with the idea of actually sewing patchwork with the intent of crafting it into a garment, but that seemed like so much work for not enough reward. Enter my lovely sponsor Jennifer and her fabulous online fabric store, Runner Girl Fabric. She has several patchwork fabrics and even a convenient tab to denote them.
I gathered up a yard of this fabric and drafted myself a super simple pattern based on my measurements.

I used a casing for my skirt and, rather than elastic, I created a buttonhole and ran a drawstring through it. Because I didn't add a lot of ease to my skirt, it's not heavily gathered and fits closely.
My cherry on top is the ric-rac along the hem.

Now, I ask you, is there any better way to say, " I'm ready for summer," than a mock patchwork skirt edged in ric-rac? I think not. Would you like to make a mock patchwork skirt and edge it, or not, in ric-rac? Then, I have a deal for you because Jennifer is giving away a yard of this lovely Kokka cotton to one lucky winner. Add to that I'll email the giveaway winner a PDF tutorial on how to draft a pattern and make the skirt. I'll post the tutorial here next week as well, but the winner gets first dibs.
To enter the contest all you have to do is leave a comment at the end of this post.
I'll take comments through Monday, May 31, 8:00pm CST.

Good luck. Have a great weekend. And hug somebody you love because you're so lucky to have them.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I Heard You'd like me to teach some dye classes. I was initially reluctant to do so because the space I'm renting is not conducive to messy, dye work. So, that means the classes would have to be in my home dye studio, also known as my garage. I've taught dye workshops there before, even several week long camps for kids, but I really like the idea of making a mess in someone else's space, just for a change of pace.

So, my compromise is to offer both. I contacted Ann over at the Stitching Studio to ask her about availability of dates in July for a series of three classes focused on designs I created for Stitch magazine. Those classes are geared to walk you through the process of making either the Tuesday Pillow, the Windows Improv Table Runner, or the Count to Five Baby Book.
You can sign up for just one or the entire series. I'm hoping to offer the classes in July.I'll get back to you all when that's finalized.
BUT...I'm offering a dye workshop in June. This is a 3-hour class where the focus is learning the techniques of patterning and dyeing cotton fabric with wax resist. The class will be conducted in my not-so-luxurious garage on the evening of Sunday, June 13. It will cover applying wax to fabric using veggie stamps, tjanting tools, cardboard stamps, brushes and traditional stamps. I'll teach all about making dye baths, discharging fabric, and, most importantly, working safely.
This class is all about information, not so much finished product. Each participant will gain the experience of trying out all the techniques, but, because of the soaking time required for vat dyes, you won't necessarily walk away with a product. What you will have is loads of knowledge. I wouldn't be surprised if a few heads just explode from the excess amount of information they'll be storing. Maybe bringing a notebook for recording said excess would be a good idea.
Anyway, I'm trying this out. If you're interested, I created a listing in my store. It's called Dyeing to Learn:: Batik. I've limited the class to 6 people so I can lavish attention on each person and there's a minimum of three required for the class to make.
OK. That's it for now.
Have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I'm so close... having 1,000 sales in my humble little shop. I've added a few things today including some fabric bundles and this:

My husband suggested that I give something away to Mr. or Ms. 1,000th sale. I think that's a dandy idea, so I'm putting it out there. If you are that 1,000th sale, I'll send you a free stitch in dye fabric bundle along with whatever you purchase.

And, to all of y'all who have supported my little corner of the interwebs, thanks so very much.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Just Don't Know What to Say

I said that with a sigh. I don't seem to be able to focus on a single post, so I'm going to embrace randomness here today.

I finished knitting the bicycle basket. If I never knit anything with jute again, it will be way too soon. I wasn't sure exactly what kind of jute I was supposed to buy and I didn't take a gauge, so my basket turned out bigger than the pattern called for. I can't imagine using it as a basket because it would sag just enough to run into my front wheel. Luckily I have a rack installed over my back tire. I currently have one pannier, so I'm going to line the basket and attach it the unused side of the rack. I bought some laminated cotton to line it with at this fabulous new local fabric store. I'll definitely take some pictures when it's all ready to go.

I'm in the midst of the Austin Commuter Challenge. I even made a button for it for my blog. My husband just rolled his eyes. He doesn't get the point of the button. I told him I didn't understand how the folks who coordinate the challenge could forget to make a button to promote the event. So, I made my own. It's linked to the home page for the challenge if you're curious.
Each participant in the challenge is supposed to log the number of trips they take over the course of the month. Part of recording those trips is to title them in some way. For instance, when I ride to the grocery store I call that trip,"home to grocery." Well, the other day, I rode my bike to a bris. A friend of mine just had a baby boy and I was happy to get a chance to wish him and his wife Mazel Tov and deliver a gift for the wee one.

I'd made the super-sized block for my tutorial at Sew, Mama, Sew back in early April. I added a little border and some corner accents to increase the size of the final quilt to 37" x 37".

I backed the quilt with some gray linen and quilted it with some repeating squiggles.

When I got home I logged my ride as "home to bris and bris to home." I could have logged it some other way, but I got some strange satisfaction from the idea that I was probably the only one participating in the challenge that would have this kind of trip recorded.
There's still the rest of May to go in the challenge and our team is currently 4th out of 55 teams.I've got lots more trips to make and even a baby shower towards the end of the month. There's more riding in my future and at least one more baby quilt.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Classes Anyone?

A quick reminder before I focus on the real purpose of this post. If you're participating in the potholder swap, this is the week to send out those potholders.

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking to the Austin chapter of the American Sewing Guild. While I don't have any pictures of the actual talk, I did put together a flickr set exclusively for this talk. It seemed like the most streamlined way of organizing the images I wanted to use to illustrate my talk. If you're interested in viewing those image, you can check out that set here. Since the text is not included, you'll just have to imagine what I said and, if you do, make me funny, please.
One of the perks of speaking to this group was getting to meet a bunch of enthusiastic crafters. One of the women, Ann Randall, owns a local sewing establishment, The Stitching Studio. Here she teaches classes,organizes folks for various charity crafting projects, and runs a crafting thrift store where you can find fabric, patterns, yarn, and other supplies, all of which are donated to this non-profit organization. Ann suggested that if I was interested in teaching classes, she has a wonderful space for rent, complete with tables, cutting stations, design wall, and sewing machines for rent. I've been thinking about teaching lately, so I went out to see her space. People, it's terrific. She does indeed have large tables complete with power strips for plugging in machines, several ironing and cutting tables, measuring tools galore and plenty of space for 10-15 sewers to work comfortably. She even has a refrigerator stocked with beverages and sweets available to'm parched and sugar deficient sewers.

Having seen the space I'm very excited about teaching some summer classes. I'm thinking about a series of sewing classes where you can take one or all of the series. Each 3-hour class would teach a single project from start to finish. You probably won't walk out of the class with a completed project, but you'll have all the knowledge and a good head start. I've got a few ideas about how to structure the series. One of my ideas is a series that focuses on crafting various kitchen items. I've made potholders(to quote my teenage daughters, "Obvy!" Apparently, my girls can't be bothered to say the word "obviously" in its entirety), tablecloths, napkin rings, and placemats. Another possibility is a series that teaches some of the patterns I've designed for Stitch magazine like this and this and this. A third idea would focus on quilts. It's not as fully fleshed out as the other two.
Here's where I need your help. I need input. Tell me what you think and what you'd like to see offered. Obviously these classes are most readily available to folks who live nearby, but that doesn't mean that those who couldn't attend don't have valuable opinions to offer. So, I'm asking. What do you think?