Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Sometimes a quick project is just the ticket, like my new spring scarf made from Heather Ross' Far Far Away double gauze, and Anna Maria Horner's pastry line voile. Simple and sweet, it's light enough to wear in warmer temperatures. It's soft, too, so you'll probably see me about town wearing it, even when it's too hot.
My scarf is 13" x 70", so it's big enough to wrap around my neck twice. Not normally my style, I made this a circle scarf after seeing so many cute ones around. You can find some good tutorials online if you're interested in making one, including one by Anna Maria Horner herself; you can find her version here.
Gordon likes the scarf, too.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
I've contemplated making Amy Butler's Weekender pattern for a looooong time. When I started sewing (again) a couple of years ago, I made it a goal to eventually make myself a Weekender.
If you've ever met me, you know I don't go into things halfway: any task I undertake (or might!) is researched and studied to no end. It was no different with the Weekender, even when I knew that Amanda would be working on one at same time (it was like a mini Weekender support group!). Every blog I read, every post about making the bag talked about how hard the bag was to make. What did I get myself into?
I had reason to be nervous when I started the bag: I'd never made piping before, and I'm not sure I've made anything so structured. My experience working with Timtex is also limited. But the bag, truthfully, wasn't actually that difficult to make. More than anything, I found that there were a lot of steps--each piece requires a lot of basting--and that the actual sewing required patience. Believe it or not, I'd actually like to make another Weekender soon!
There's not much I would change about the pattern, except maybe the number of layers of Timtex in the bottom panel: the pattern calls for three, but I think that 2 would probably suffice. It certainly would have made sewing the bottom much easier, and it was really only that part of the bag I had real difficulty with. Also, when the pattern calls for the use of heavy duty needles, they really mean it. I broke four (4!) needles before I finally broke down and bought some meant for heavy duty use. Finally, I bent a lot of pins, so use binder clips to hold together all of those layers! (Amy Butler suggests that, too. As you can see, I'm a stubborn sewer sometimes.)
I used an Anna Maria Horner print in a home dec weight cotton for the exterior, and the Later Alligator print from the Tammis O'Keefe tribute line for the lining. For the piping, I used My Folklore. I'm really, really pleased with how my Weekender turned out, and I've been encouraging everyone I know to make their own. I promise you'll love it!
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Every once in a while, something happens to you that can only be described as magic. Yes, yes. It might seem strange to describe a crafty weekend in Boulder as 'magic', but it really, really was.
A couple of months ago, Karyn sent me an email about The Makerie. It seemed like the perfect getaway. Beautiful setting? Check. Crafty peeps? Check. Holy moly: there was even shoe making. We were lucky enough to find out that there was still space and promptly booked our tickets.
We took two classes, one for each day of the retreat. First up was shoe making with Jessica Hernandez. Jessican owns Joyfolie, and her shoes are utterly gorgeous--both the ones for women and children. Learning to make cute ballet flats from Jessica was lovely, and I can't wait to make more. Jessica was so open about owning a creative business and the things that she's learned, it was a sweet, refreshing touch. Such a fun class with a wonderful teacher and amazing people!
On Saturday, we took block printing with Lizzy House. I'll admit that before meeting Lizzy, I was feeling a bit intimidated: I mean, we're talking about Lizzy House. She designed Castle Peeps, people, and is a brilliant artist. What an amazing thing to learn that she's down-to-earth, sweet, and kind. Also, she has 8 million ideas and things to do in her head while at the same time being super focused. I'm so glad I learned to make block prints from Lizzy; I felt less terrified immediately. For someone who isn't an artist, can't draw, and is only marginally creative, I'm feeling pretty good about my print!
But what made the weekend so amazing was how I felt while there, and how I still feel. More than ever before, I felt connected to a community of truly brilliant people, to my friends, to my family, to myself. I thought frequently of my grandmother, a talented woman that I've only recently come to realize was an artist, too. I wondered if she were still here if we would have gone together, or spent afternoons sewing and stitching and chatting the way I sometimes imagine we are when I'm in my sewing room. I wondered if my brother feels the way I did when carving my block print when he's drawing or painting or making music. I spent time hoping I could pass these skills to my niece, or maybe even my own children one day. I loved just being there, with my friend Karyn (who was the best retreat companion ever!), and my new friends Lizzy, Anne, the ladies from Fancy Tiger Craft, Ali, and all of the other wonderful women I met. It was a perfectly mushy weekend that I wouldn't have any other way.
So now I'm totally addicted to retreats, especially The Makerie. As Lizzy would say, it was the bomb dot com. Naturally, Karyn and I are already hatching plans to attend more.