Tuesday, January 31, 2012

30-Day Challenge:: Le Dejeuner en Blanc

Yes, I know. I've got chutzpah making this post part of my 30-day challenge when I haven't posted for a week. Well I do have chutzpah, no doubt about that.
These are images from an event I attended this past weekend called Le Dejeuner en Blanc. It was described as a flash mob lunch in white and was masterminded by one very clever gal who I'd never met before. I was invited as someone's guest, but the locale of the lunch was a secret to everyone but the coordinator until the very last minute.
What we were told was that we were to dress in all white, bring tables, chairs, food, wine, and flowers, meet at a specific address and await further instructions. Once gathered at that address, our table head received a text letting him know where we were to proceed to set up our table and begin the lunch.
It was fabulously orchestrated, unique, and just so much fun.
It turns out the woman who masterminded it was celebrating her birthday, wanted to do something unusual, but didn't want to make the event exclusively about her birthday. It was brilliant!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

30-Day Challenge:: In Praise of Stock Photos

...stock in the sense that I've had this photo for a while and just didn't post it. Along comes this morning when I realize that I have now missed 2 days in my 30-day challenge and, voila, stock photo becomes today's topic. I'm not berating myself though for lagging behind in my challenge. I do yoga and we are repeatedly told to have compassion on ourselves and I am a firm believer in self-directed compassion.
Anyway, this scarf, crafted out of bias cut strips is inspired by knitted scarves like this one. I think I've mentioned this before, but just in case, I'm often inspired by other textiles, but especially knits. This scarf was created as a magazine design, but, alas, did not make it in. No matter. I'll probably write up the pattern and sell it myself or add it to the classes I teach at Stitch Lab or both. For today, it definitely served its purpose: something to post about here in my little corner of the internet.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

30-Day Challenge:: Why I wasn't meant for dental school

My buddy, Jeff, took some pictures of me the other day and, other than the typical profile shots there were some opportunities to be silly. So, first off, I'm just pretending to be angry in this picture. Secondly, and perhaps a little sadly, this is the face I made when Jeff told me to show him my fangs. I'm not sure why I stuck out my bottom teeth in response to that prompt, but I obviously was not meant for dental school.

Friday, January 20, 2012

30-Day Challenge:: Noticing

It's short and, hopefully, sweet today folks because, sometimes, when you stop talking, writing, and thinking and start doing, you might just see something quite beautiful.
I was doing something as mundane as pulling fabric out of a discharge bath when I noticed how amazing it looked doubled up so that the pattern from the other half seemed to form a ghost image and the light from outside filtered through the fabric. I'm not going to pretend that I have my camera ever-present to record these kinds of images, but it was certainly nearby and knew grabbing it and shooting a few frames was worth the effort.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

30-Day Challenge:: Selling Like Hot Cakes

On Monday I got an email from Leslie Bonnell, owner extraordinaire of Stitch Lab, letting me know that some of my newly arrived prints were already sold out. I assumed she was referring to the stock at her store and replied that I was very happy to hear that. A couple of hours later she sent a second email to clarify the first. The prints weren't sold out at Stitch Lab; they're sold out nationally. That's all over the freaking country, people!
Tonight, as I was teaching a class, Leslie looked up the status of my fabric line online. Then she called me over. I was blown away by how many of the prints and even a few solids are listed as out-of-stock. I don't remember what the Moda policy is on re-prints or if they hold some stock back. All I know is the fabric hasn't been in the stores for more than a week and it's going pretty darn fast.

Monday, January 16, 2012

30-Day Challenge:: Abi's Baby Kimono

I was chatting with someone this morning about the role of handcrafted items in contemporary lives. As a sidebar: this was part of an official interview, not the stuff of everyday banter. Anyway, I was mentioning how valuable crafting for ourselves and those we love is, especially in our get-it-super-cheap-at-Target world. That's when I remembered a wee, little wrap shirt that I over-dyed a few weeks before my youngest was born over 14 years ago. I embellished this top with the intent that she wear it home from the hospital. And she did. And it was a bit too big, so she got to wear it a few more times. And then I made another one for the next door neighbor's baby who came along six weeks later. And that's how a stitch in dye was born.
And now it fits easily in the palm of her hands.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

30-Day Challenge:: isn't the thread pretty?

Whenever I unwrap an arashi pole (what that is is the makings for a different post), I'm always wowed by how pretty the thread that's been immersed with the fabric is. It almost seems a shame to throw it away and I'm sure that many of you have suggestions for what to do with the thread rather than discard it. I always welcome and enjoy y'all's creativity, but unraveling this bird's nest of thread is way more work than I want to do. That, however, doesn't stop me from enjoying the color and, in this case, finding a way to take a one-handed picture of it.

On a slightly different note, thanks so much for all your lovely comments about my new fabric line. I wish I could tell you exactly where the fabric is available both in bricks and mortar stores and online, but I'm just the designer and don't honestly know. I do know that locally, Stitch Lab, Walker Hall, and Honey Bee Fabrics are carrying some of the collection. As for online, I know that the lovely Tammy at Marmalade fabrics is also planning on carrying the fabrics and that there are several Etsy vendors selling a stitch in color. Other than that, I would recommend a google search. I hope that helps.

Friday, January 13, 2012

30-Day Challenge:: a stitch in color in the wild

Though I know for a fact that my fabric line, a stitch in color, will be available at three different local fabric stores, Walker Hall Design on 12th street sent me an email yesterday letting me know that their order had arrived. I'm surprised it took me 24 hours to get over there, but I made my way there to snap this photo. I, of course, had seen bolts of the fabric at Quilt Market, but there's something extra-special exciting about seeing it in a fabric store. It's my first sighting of a stitch in color in the wild and definitely a thrill.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

30-Day Challenge:: What the world needs now is love, sweet love...

...that's the only thing that there's just too little of....Sing it with me. But, these two seem to have plenty. I shot this picture last night on South Congress avenue. For those of you not familiar with Austin, this is a fun, hip street just South of the Capital building teeming with shops and restaurants and all manner of fabulous hangouts.
Anyway, may I introduce total stranger and her lovely 18-year old daughter, here seen posing together alongside a bit of impromptu, but wonderful graffiti. Sadly, I didn't get a shot of their previous pose in which they were totally enfolded in each other's arms.
The world could definitely use more of this.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

30-Day Challenge:: Flower

I don't have a lot to say today except sometimes a handcrafted flower can spark lots of other ideas.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

30-Day Challenge:: Scene from a Day

I had planned on featuring two pictures today. I snapped the first one this morning just before I headed out for a run around beautiful Town Lake( sidenote: nobody I know calls it Ladybird Lake. Sorry Johnson family). It was super early and dark, so I didn't notice how out of focus it was. So, no early morning scene from near the zero mile marker. Maybe another time.
This photo happened many hours later as I was teaching a free motion machine quilting class at Stitch Lab. Things were hopping today there and both classes were full and buzzing with excitement, just like I like it. One of my favorite things about teaching is meeting folks who are literally brimming over with excitement about learning what it is you plan to teach. It really makes you appreciate the skill and tune into what a privilege it is to pass it on to someone else. Who knew that learning how to machine apply stitches to a surface could make people so happy and stir their imaginations? There's frankly no way to walk away from teaching there without feeling recharged. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

30-Day Challenge:: More Sampling, the Knotted Kind

Or should I say the knitted kind. Along with sewing and sewing technique classes at Stitch Lab, I've also started teaching some knitting classes. Some of those are temporary as the fabulous gal who usually teaches them just had a baby, so I'm just subbing. But I've also proposed several projects based classes for the folks who've taken the "how-to" class and want to apply their knowledge to a specific project. Seeing as all the people in the class are pretty new to knitting these projects are super-simple and don't require taking a gauge. They do teach some additional techniques like knitting in the round, simple increases and decreases, and sewing up small knitted sections. I'm kind of taken aback by how excited I am to teach these classes. Maybe it's that they're outside my usual purview and feel fresh and new because of that. Maybe, it's because I'll be working with a different group of students than those who take the sewing classes. Whatever the reason I'm getting a huge kick out of making the samples and really looking forward to teaching these classes.

Friday, January 6, 2012

30-Day Challenge:: Oops and Sampling

Did I forget to do my entry yesterday? Yikes, minor fail in the 30-day challenge. Well, never mind, I'm back and still committed to the challenge. To tell you the truth, it wasn't that I forgot as I was so busy yesterday that I didn't have a chance to work on it until I came back from my running group around 7 last night and then I was so exhausted from the run it was I all I could do to make dinner and go to bed. It's a good thing I'm a firm believer in the concept that every day is a new opportunity, so back to the original goal I go.
Anyway, one of the things that makes my days so busy is making samples for the classes I teach at Stitch Lab. I really love making the samples because it helps me to imagine the experience my students might have and to think about what points in the process are worth noting and what can be skimmed or skipped over. It's a very different mindset than writing a pattern or tutorial because those are created with the idea that the person following the instructions has as much time to devote to the making as they choose. They could craft the item in one sitting or over the course of days, weeks, or even years if they're fans of amassing UFOs. Writing instructions for a class necessitates condensing that process and determining what must get done in order to bring the item to completion or near completion in the time allotted. It's a different way to teach a technique or project and it requires seeing that project in a new way. It definitely stretches me and takes me a bit out of my comfort zone; a good thing whether you're crafting or just living.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

30-Day Challenge:: Yarn Bombing

It happens in the best of neighborhoods. Hell, it happens in my neighborhood. This isn't exactly my hood, but close enough. I was on my way to having dinner with friends when I ran into this and a few other examples in the Hyde Park area. What is it about seeing fiber out in the environment that speaks to those of us who work with fabric and yarn? Is it like running into an old friend and suddenly feeling that much more at ease because it's familiar? Or do we secretly hope that the rest of them(you know the non-fiber loving muggles) will see this display, catch on, and realize how terrific hand crafted can be?
Maybe we can push them in that direction if we call their attention to this amazing DIY site.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

30-Day Challenge:: While You Were Sleeping

... I was doing yoga. Though it's probable that some of you were up and maybe doing yoga too. I took this shot outside Black Swan, the absolute best yoga studio in town, I think. I only go once a week on Tuesday mornings, but, boy howdy, do I love it.
When I first started though I swore I would not engage in what I call "yoga talk" I would not fold my hands in front of my heart and bow my head as I said,"namaste". I would not declare that "all the goodness in my souls bows to all the goodness in your soul."
So, you can imagine how shocked I was when, as I was taking one of my girls to school a few Tuesdays ago, I casually said," I had planned to set an intention for my practice this morning, but we moved out of our opening shivasna so quickly, I didn't have a chance to." After I made this declaration, I turned to my girl and asked," Did that just come out of my mouth?" "Yep," she replied.
Apparently yoga is more than skin deep.
Just to show that I don't take myself or my "practice" too seriously, I invite you to partake of this the hilarious spoof on the way yogis talk.
Enjoy and namaste everybody.

Monday, January 2, 2012

30-Day Challenge:: Me, Myself, and I

Like many people I use the New Year which is, after all, a pretty arbitrary demarcation, as an opportunity to start new things or improve on old ones. Because there's been a lot of turbulence in my life this past year, I've had a bit of trouble focusing on the work that needs to get done and resolved that the new year would bring a renewed attention to the task at hand. Two days in I'm still having a bit of trouble and this picture is actually proof of that. What should I being doing? Oh, the list is long and varied. What am I doing. Taking a new profile shot for Facebook. Maybe it's not a switch that you pull when you resolve to change something. Maybe the resolution is more about starting the process than getting the thing done.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

30-Day Challenge:: Viewpoint

The new year seems like a good time to examine the concept of viewpoint or perspective. Perspective might just be everything. I had that concept clearly exemplified this morning as I participated in the 2nd Annual Resolution Ride. This fun ride put on by a local bike shop is an out and back 25 or 50 mile ride. Today, like last year, the out included a seriously brisk head wind that made you wonder why you signed up for this thing in the first place. But, because the ride returns to the start in the opposite direction, what was a much-hated and berated head wind became a pleasant and downright appreciated tail wind. See, it's all in your perspective.