I have an article in the new issue of Cutting Edge, which I’m really excited about…
I got to interview three DIY Network hosts — Jennifer Perkins of Craft Lab, Allison Whitlock of Uncommon Threads, and Cathie Filian of Creative Juice — about their favorite ideas for organizing their sewing spaces. They shared plenty of ways to stylishly store your fabric, notions, and patterns, using stuff you probably already have around the house, like Ziploc bags and index cards.
Thanks to Jennifer, here is a scan of the whole thing if you’d like to read it. I could certainly put some of the tips to good use myself, my sewing area is something of a pile at the moment…
And in a lovely surprise, stylist extraordinaire Kayte Terry included one of my necklaces in the Spring Fling feature, paired with a cute patchwork jumper — thanks so much, Kayte!
Speaking of jewelry, be sure to keep an eye out for Jen’s Naughty Secretary Club pieces all through the issue! A few other things I spotted and loved were Khaliah Ali’s new Simplicity patterns (especially the v-neck top), the lace-embellished party dress ideas, and Nicole Smith’s floral felt jewelry. So cute.
Working on our crazy freelance/self-employed taxes has pretty much worn me out this week. And if I ever needed something cute to look at, it’s about now… so on a happier note, here are my favorite Pink Craftie snapshots from our visit to Portland!
Our first stop was the library for a Super Crafty valentine-making party. Pink Craftie got to meet the Happy Hex Voodoo Doll (Torie‘s favorite project from the book!) and hang out with the ladies of PDX Super Crafty and the forty crafters who came out to make cards with us.
We got to see Melissa of all buttoned up one afternoon too, which was lovely. Her vintage fabric collection — especially those incredible horses — and handmade fabric boxes are big favorites of mine. And after seeing the super-stylish clothes she made with the Sew U patterns, I can assure you that the book skyrocketed to the top of my wishlist.
We also visited Superbuzzy World Headquarters with Diane to pick up my fabric order (handkerchief print! yay!) and visit with Mariko. She made the most delicious red velvet cookie sandwiches with cream cheese filling — the recipe, which I bookmarked immediately (and you should too), is here. Then we all headed over to Knittn Kitten with Action Hero Melissa for some vintage craft supplies shopping…
…I love that place, I found some embroidered pillowcases, cardinal appliques, and 1969-70 McCalls Needlecraft annuals. Then Diane taught me how to crochet — I feel like I acquired a new superpower!
We also spotted Making Stuff, a new British craft book that I have a project in. I will definitely write more about it soon — I wanted to wait until it was available here in the US, and obviously now it is. Cool.
Just a few cool things I wanted to mention, all centered around the Bay Area…
1. Yesterday I wrote a review of two shows I saw in San Francisco last month (on my birthday, actually) for the Adorn blog: The Art of Gaman and Alexander Girard: Vibrant Modern. They’re both closing after tomorrow (Sunday, 2/25) so if you are in the Bay Area and have a couple of hours tomorrow — or right this second, I guess — I loved them both and I’d really recommend going!
By the way, The Art of Gaman is also a book — a really wonderful, beautifully illustrated book — that I will definitely write about again… so if you miss the show, the book is incredible.
2. If you make jewelry, be sure to check out Christina Loff‘s excellent bead-store column for SFist. She has lots of great suggestions, including my favorite, Beyond Beads. I bookmarked everything I didn’t already know about, thanks, Christina!
3. I meant to write about this last month after our trip to San Francisco, and never got a chance. We stayed at Hotel Boheme in North Beach, just on the edge of Chinatown, and left the car in a parking garage for two days so we could walk everywhere. And of course it wasn’t cheap ($26/day), but parking in North Beach seems like it’s kind of a nightmare no matter what. Well, randomly, we picked the North Beach Parking Garage (735 Vallejo Street, between Columbus and Stockton streets) and discovered that it’s a public art project by Portland artist (and friend of Andrew’s) Harrell Fletcher. So cool.
We drove in and saw that each space had a stenciled fortune, and I rejected the first open space as potentially negative (“Opportunity is Fleeting”). So we settled on this one, a bit further down:
When we left, we saw this plaque with all the information on the project:
I love public art like this: just making some normal city thing cooler and more interesting and bringing it to life. (One word of warning: the people at the garage will think you are crazy if you actually ask for the alternative-format info.)
Cathy of California just took me over to Pamela Barsky‘s sample sale — she’s making deals on all of her discontinued journals and cute gift-y stuff from past lines, and I picked up some instant favorites…
Love these three. I might be able to part with one as a gift, but I always need a notebook and these are such a perfect size. The silk-scarf one is especially cool.
I couldn’t resist this dinner parties journal — and can’t wait to use it, either…
I’ve always loved Pamela’s designs, so it was so nice to meet her and really fun to see tons of her work in person. Nothing is more than $4, and she’s continuing the sale all weekend, so be sure to go if you can! It’s also tomorrow and Sunday from 8-2, at 616 North Curson St, just south of Melrose, between Fairfax and LaBrea — more info here.
On the way, Cathy took me to French General, which was just the most exquisite place, tucked away on a side street right in the busy epicenter of Hollywood — I had no idea. I’m definitely going back when I have more time to browse all the entrancing little beads, buttons, and collectibles: dozens of gorgeous apothecary jars full of charming trinkets, arranged by color, that I just wanted to hang out with for hours.
After Pamela Barsky‘s sale, we went to Delilah to meet Jenny for lunch and chocolate cake. Next time I need to get there earlier to conduct my Los Angeles cupcakes research, since they’d run out of a lot of stuff by the time we showed up. Everything was pretty delicious though, so no complaints from me.
And of course Pink Craftie came along to hang out with us…
I went to Portland Church of Craft this Sunday, which was so much fun. Fifty-two people came out to craft with felted sweaters, and everyone made such cool things! I already knew that I wanted to sew a pig-something to celebrate the Chinese New Year. So I thought about doing a pincushion or a stuffed toy, and then realized that my iPod could desperately use a soft little case — bingo. I improvised this one on the spot and took some pictures along the way. So if you want to make a lucky little Year of the Pig iPod cozy, here’s how I stitched mine!
But first, a quick note: If you’re a knitter, be sure to check out M.K. Carroll‘s “Mobile Monster” pattern from Stitch ‘n Bitch Nation — that’s what I used to make my pink pig cellphone cozy last year. Since her design definitely inspired me, I want to give full credit to her beautiful work. Like her adorable pattern, my new felted pig has buttons for the eyes and nose, and triangles for the ears, even though its construction and materials are different. (p.s. don’t miss her super cute etsy shop!)
This is a very easy piece to sew, and you can probably finish it in under an hour. It could also be adapted to hold a camera, phone, or any other little electronic-type thing.
A piece of felted sweater, at least 12 inches by 4 inches for a full-size iPod
Big-eye sewing needle and heavy thread (for the blanket stitch)
Regular sewing needle and thread (for stitching on the buttons)
Two small buttons for the eyes
One large button for the nose
1. Place your iPod on the piece of felted sweater (as shown in the first pic above) and cut it to size so it’s slightly wider than the iPod on both sides. Just eye it, erring on the generous side — you can always trim it to size later. Length-wise, just make sure it completely folds over the iPod twice, plus there’s enough for a flap for the pig’s face. For a full-size version, I cut my felted wool piece so it was 3.5 inches wide and 12 inches long.
2. Make a narrow fold on the bottom edge and pin it down. Use your big-eye needle and heavier thread to sew a running stitch securing that seam (as shown in the second pic above). Then fold that bottom section up towards the middle with the raw edge inside, pinning both sides, so that your iPod can slip in easily.
3. Now you’ll use a blanket stitch to sew both sides of the cozy. Once you finish the first side, knot it securely. Check to see if your iPod fits in neatly or if there’s too much room — if there is, trim the second side and re-pin it. Blanket-stitch the second side the same way.
4. Shape and trim the top so it’s a neat curve, and blanket-stitch all the way around that, too.
5. Now it’s time for the fun part: making the face! Cut two small triangles out of felted wool for ears (mine were about 3/4 inch on each side) and blanket-stitch two sides of one. Attach the third (bottom) side of the ear-triangle to one side of the top of the cozy, also using blanket stitch. Repeat with the second one.
6. Use your smaller needle and normal thread to stitch on the eyes and nose buttons. You could also do a little embroidery or felt applique, or add rick-rack or something else cool.
…and I even got to meet Heather of CROQ, and got a peek at the new issue (which I have a craft project in!). It looks awesome, I can’t wait to get my copy in the mail. And if you want to see more cool felted stuff, Diane posted her pictures and a cute write-up, too! It was such a fun afternoon.
Last night Cathy of California and I had the amazing chance to visit the Institute For Figuring headquarters in Highland Park and see their crocheted coral reefs before they travel to the Andy Warhol Museum. I was just wowed by the work — there were hundreds of individual coral pieces, arranged into incredible tableaus in every color you can imagine, on every flat surface, and everything was so tactile and layered and cool in person.
Christine and Margaret Wertheim of the IFF graciously invited me to take pictures, so Pink Craftie got to do quite a bit of exploring…
…and if there’s such a thing as a natural habitat for an adorable little pink-and-silver robot, I’d argue that it’s within a fancifully crocheted underwater ecosystem. Pink Craftie seemed right at home!
Christine gave us a personal tour of the reefs — two main configurations are going to Pittsburgh (and then Chicago) as a show, and many others are staying here in Los Angeles. Here she is with one of the most captivating pieces, a huge, remarkable orange reef that curves and curls in every direction.
This piece was made by twin artists in New York, out of pipe cleaners. It is just unbelievable to look at.
In addition to their beautiful, colorful and lively reefs, the IFF is creating a parallel project: a rubbish vortex — crocheted from plastic and trash — to simulate a huge and toxic underwater waste dump north of Hawaii. As all this plastic has inevitably found its way into the ecosystem, the ocean life around it is dying from ingesting it. The members of the IFF have been saving their trash and recycling for the last year to include in this rubbish vortex.
Last, Christine and Margaret told us about three of their most prolific contributors:
Helen Bernasconi is a mathematician and sheep farmer in Bonnie Doon, Victoria, Australia, who shears and dyes wool and spins it into her own yarn to crochet with. She creates complicated spreadsheets to record her designs — the coils and curls on these reefs are exquisitely specific. The colors are rich and deep and dark.
Marianne Middleberg, in Bendigo, Australia, uses all recycled materials in her work: for these pieces, she unravels thrift-store sweaters and crochets the reclaimed yarn — I love the detailed edging she adds.
And Christine and Margaret met Shari Porter of Rialto, California, through the Los Angeles County Fair last year, where all three of them showed their crochet work. She enthusiastically agreed to create reefs for the project, and she says her exuberant, colorful pieces are guided by the Lord, and she is the conduit for the design.
For more information on the Institute:
The IFF is also exhibiting a new show, “The Logic Alphabet of Shea Zellweger,” at the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles, which opens on Saturday, March 3. Details are here. I’m looking so forward to it — hope to see you there.
And some other interesting crochet I’ve spotted recently:
After one abruptly cancelled flight, two long lines, one re-booked flight I had five minutes to run for and promptly missed, and two more actual, successful flights I was actually on, I finally got back to LA late last night, via Seattle (nothing like flying due north to turn around and fly due south). Oh well, it’s not every day that a girl gets to set foot in all three continental West Coast states… even if it takes ten hours instead of two, and you end up in your least favorite airport on earth, without your suitcase full of Superbuzzy fabric, and your husband has to circle the airport in traffic for an hour-plus while you file a lost bag claim… ahem. But thank goodness, I am now home and I am not going anywhere by airplane for as long as possible!!
Tonight Cathy of California and I are heading to the crocheted coral reef installation/party hosted by the Institute for Figuring here in Highland Park. I missed their Hyperbolic Space show at Machine Project last year so I’m extra excited to check it out.
And speaking of crochet… I also learned how to crochet with wire this weekend from Sister Diane! Well, make a chain, anyway, and apparently that’s the basis to everything else — woo! There’s even photographic evidence that I can do it…
Diane also surprised me with the cutest birthday present: three colorful kanzashi flower magnets she made! So gorgeous.
So at the rate I’m going, I might be able to crochet something with more than one row in the next decade or so. Hopefully.
I don’t think I’m going to be online much this weekend, so I thought I’d go ahead and wish you a very happy Chinese New Year on Sunday! I’ll be celebrating at Church of Craft, myself.
I took these pictures in Chinatown in Los Angeles last month and just loved the little guys especially… and I’m a big fan of pigs in general (just glance up to the top center of the page to see me with my all-time favorite) so I have high hopes for the coming year.
I got to hang out with Melissa yesterday which was such a treat — vintage fabric, cherry chocolate bread and a super cute kid are just an unbeatable combination — and then I rode the MAX downtown and walked around and it was just a very nice rainy gray Portland day.
So in honor of the Rose City and my love for it I thought I’d make an entirely subjective list of my favorite places and things:
Best place to check your e-mail in public: Palio
Best thrift store: Red White & Blue
Best place to spend fifteen minutes you didn’t know you had: the Orange Room at Powells
Best pie: Half + Half
Best place for a first kiss: Beulahland (hey, it worked for me!)
Best park: Laurelhurst
Best hotel: Hotel Lucia
Best dinner out: the Farm
Best coffee: Stumptown
Best library: Central
Best walking bridges: Hawthorne and Broadway (tie)
Best-looking bridge: St. Johns
Best bus line: 14
Best MAX line: red
Best cross-town walk: Southeast to Northwest
Best crepes and wine: Le Happy
Best place to get your hair done: 220 Salon
Best grocery store: New Seasons
Best charcoal tofu and green beans: Chino Saigon
Best one-stop crafty inforama: DIY Alert
Best cupcake: Bakery Bar
Best Oregon wine: Elk Cove Syrah
Best unexpectedly beautiful place: Union Station
Best place to take your in-laws: Bluehour
I hope you are having an absolutely lovely one. As for me, I’m in the middle of a fairly normal Wednesday (laptop, errands, rinse, repeat) with a bright spot in the afternoon: getting to hang out with Melissa and Sam! My romantic plans consist of talking to Andrew at each commercial during LOST tonight — keeping my fingers crossed that my replacement cell phone comes in today’s mail. So to get a bit more in the spirit of the day I thought I would post something pretty and Valentine-y.
I embroidered this handkerchief for Meredith‘s birthday last year and really liked the hearts. I love vintage handkerchiefs and have a little stash tucked away for just the right project. And soon my collection will be getting a super cool boost: I’m picking up my handkerchief-printed fabric from Superbuzzy this week! Looking so forward to that.
I wish I could post some photos from the valentine-making party last night but sadly I seem to have left my camera cord in LA, so instead you’ll get to see them next week. It was so much fun — forty people came to hang out and make cards. Thank you to Laurel and the Hollywood Library for hosting us!