It’s been years (literally) since I’ve had a chance to sew this much, and I can hardly believe I’ve actually gotten to make or mend a few things that didn’t have a deadline attached to them. I wanted to share a few photos of the projects I’m the most excited about…
This vintage dress, which was a $5 Rose Bowl treasure, had been on the long-neglected mending pile since 2007 (?) with a broken metal zipper. After moving everything in my craft room downstairs and finding it again, I stole half an hour, dipped into my newly organized card catalog of notions, and put in a new zipper. I have never loved my little Pfaff more than when I was zipping along on this project, realizing I was going to get to wear it out to dinner in ten minutes when the babysitter got here (it was the evening of our sixth wedding anniversary). I usually don’t post many photos of myself, but here I am very happy, and just so glad to be wearing this dress again instead of losing it to the perma-pile.
My favorite thing I’ve made in forever is this denim wrap skirt. Love the pockets, which hold an iPhone and keys perfectly, love the a-line, and love the total simplicity of it. I’m also kind of amazed that I finished it after all this time… I prewashed the fabric and cut all the pieces out in summer 2007, right after we moved back to Portland. Then I found out I was pregnant (the first time), suddenly got the chance to write another book (Button It Up), and reluctantly put the skirt project away to whenever I could fit it in time-wise, not to mention fit into it body-wise. Two more books, a house move, a craft room move, and another baby later, I got those long-forgotten pattern pieces back out (I really thought this one might end up in my crafty estate sale for someone else to finish a few decades from now) and started sewing.
I love top-stitching. I find it so relaxing to just go forward with these neat, even lines. This is kind of a dream project for me, I guess – three full bobbins’ worth of relaxing! The skirt is sturdy denim, top-stitched basically everywhere, and almost architectural on. I’m not nearly as worried about a sudden gust of wind as I would be in some adorable light, frothy thing. But a well-placed safety pin never hurts…
Anyway, I’m hoping for a good photo soon, but none of my mirror ones turned out, so I’ll update when I have someone around who is not three or nine months old and can take a decent picture of me wearing it. Oh, and I lost the pattern envelope sometime in the last four years (unsurprising) so the vintage pattern wiki page was awesome for reference – it’s Simplicity 9541. My only tweaks were shortening it 5 inches to just below/at the knee, and a few of my own attempts to set the waistband, etc. differently than the 1980 “UNIT 6″ approach I couldn’t really get my sewing head around.
Next, I finally got started on the Carousel Quilt kit I bought from Pink Chalk Fabrics a couple years ago, which is a charming pattern Kathy designed, built around the Denyse Schmidt County Fair cheater print panel. It’s stitching up super fast but I didn’t have a chance to finish piecing it last time I had childcare. Next week for sure!
I also mended a pair of Pearl’s old cowgirl pants (my favorite kids’ pattern, Burda 9772), hemmed a pair of Andrew’s cords, and then jumped into Mic-Mac part 2. I sewed Pearl a brown George the Puppy from Girl’s World a little while ago, which she promptly named Mic-Mac, and then requested “so many more Mic-Macs.”
So I cut a couple more out last week (a red one for her and a green one for Alex, both with yellow number-print ears), and sewed and stuffed them on Monday. Well, I think I’ll be making another green one for Alex, because Pearl loves the trio of Mic-Macs, and they are basically partying together all day long.
She lines them all up, she tells me stories about them, and they go on trips together. Not bad for a project that takes much less than an hour and a quarter-yard of fabric. Actually, you could probably make two in an hour or so, if you didn’t have to change thread colors. (My only tweaks were top-stitching the ears, and I didn’t clip curves this time since the seam allowance is only 1/4″ and I had a hard time not cutting too much on the brown Mic-Mac.)
So, now that I’ve caught up on some sewing to-do’s (to say the least!) I went to JoAnn Fabrics in search of Denyse Schmidt‘s new line Sugar Creek. Here is what I found at the Eastport store in Portland on Tuesday:
Not a ton of Sugar Creek in the mix, but yay, there was some Picnic (which I wasn’t expecting to see again) so I snapped up three yards of this very-favorite print, plus a new Lisette pattern – Continental, for the cute dress:
So, we’ll see when I have time to make it (hopefully in time to wear it at least once before sweater weather officially descends). By the way, I bought the Lisette Market pattern (for the adorable a-line skirt) at JoAnn a few weeks back too and I’ve already lost it! If you know any finding-things charms, I’d love any good thoughts. I want to make that skirt…
Oh, one more project (no sewing involved). My dear friend Alison came over last week and we made terrariums, so I got to re-make my Star Wars Terrariums from World of Geekcraft. I had disassembled them all in 2009 to send the action figures and rocks and sand away for the photo shoot and I was missing them so much. So she made wedding centerpieces, and Pearl and I made my Star Wars worlds again. Yay!
PS: If you have been following or helping with Quilts for Quake Survivors (thank you!!!) I put a new post up on the blog a couple days ago, about our last sewing party and final push to raise money for Mercy Corps and donate the remaining quilts. You can check that out and add your two cents over there if you’d like to.
PS again: If you are into these things, I’m finding the one minute to post things on my craft writer page on Facebook or my new twitter a lot more often than the hour or whatever for a real, full-on blog post with pictures over here. So please say hi over there if you’d like to!
I mentioned the book party last week, but wanted to share some new peeks at the cool things we’re planning for the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store this Saturday afternoon – I would love to see you over there! The reception is for both Modern Log Cabin Quilting and World of Geekcraft, which I’m really excited about. It’s been fun making up some special craft kits for both books! I’m teaching a new Woolen Cross Pillow class from 12-2 ($45), and then from 2-4 you can stop the (free!) party to sew MLCQ-style quilt blocks in their gorgeous wool fabrics
that look like this,
make comics magnets from WOGC,
and have snacks and lemonade. I was planning to make cupcakes (my favorite book party treat) but changed my mind – now it will be cheesecake brownies, which seem a little more summery! I love those too.
(so picture brownies here instead…)
You can also work on your own crafts, check out lots of projects from both books, and find all kinds of good treasures in the by-the-pound bins and on the tables there. I snapped up all the wool squares to make this patchwork throw from one of those bins, and it’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever made.
Pendleton has also graciously put together a tote bag of prizes for someone at the party to win! My MLCQ publisher, Potter Craft, sent me this handy canvas satchel for the gift bag. I put copies of both my books and both of the craft kits into it, and handed it over to Pendleton to see what they might want to contribute. So far they’ve added a bunch of colorful carded wool, a spindle, fat quarters of lots of different plaid wool fabrics, buttons and zippers, and it sounds like there’s more on the way!
Also – Aimee of the Woolen Mill Store was nice enough to do a little interview with me about my new craft room, my favorite designers and artists, and how NOT to baste a quilt. Thank you, Aimee!
Saturday, August 20 from 2-4 pm
Pendleton Woolen Mill Store, 8500 SE McLoughlin Blvd, Portland
A few other things…
-Speaking of Pendleton, they just posted this lovely short film by Chris Hornbecker about the making of the Portland Collection, which I love. I got to preview the clothes last month – they’re amazing, and all made in the US from fabric woven in mills right here in Oregon and Washington, which I also very much appreciate. I’ve got my eye on the vintage-inspired shift dress in Neskowin plaid, and plan to snap it up as soon as it’s out in the shops this fall!
-Speaking of sewing, my super-talented friend Christine Haynes (famous for her wonderful book, Chic and Simple Sewing), has a new Kickstarter campaign to help publish two of her sewing patterns – the Derby and the Chelsea. Please check it out, watch the video, and consider pledging to support her work! Here’s a peek at the Retro Shift Dress I made from her C&SS book… an all-time summer favorite for sure.
-Still on the topic of sewing, I’m working on a post for Quilts for Quake Survivors on our lovely party last weekend (HUGE thank-you to everyone who came to sew with us) and our next steps and final donations. I’ll post a link here when that’s up (we’ll see how long Everett naps) but here’s just one photo for now… Teresa‘s amazing 1954 Pfaff!
-and last – see you at the Portland Modern Quilt Guild meeting tonight?? They’re also hosting a fabulous all-day sew at Fabric Depot on Saturday. I highly recommend sewing over there, zipping over to the book party mid-afternoon for a quick wool-quilt-block and treat break, and heading back to sew some more. Sounds like the perfect day to me!
Prizes and parties (and quilting) = three things I’m super excited about, coming right up.
First, Alissa’s amazing fabric fundraiser for Action Kivu has just a couple days left to go (it closes Sunday the 14th). They are hoping to raise $15,000 and are at the halfway point now. Awesome!
Action Kivu is a nonprofit that helps women who are victims of the conflict in Eastern Congo by teaching them to sew. The conflict in Congo has taken the lives of over 5.4 million people since 1998. Rape is used as a weapon of war, with estimates putting the number of rapes in the hundreds of thousands. This is truly difficult stuff to think about but together we can really make a difference for some specific women who need our help.
By donating specific amounts, from $10-100, you automatically enter to win some amazing prizes at each level, like a set of 43 fat eighths of Flea Market Fancy, donated by Jacquie and Ashley ($75), and a set of Sugar Creek fabrics (not even in stores yet!) from Denyse Schmidt Quilts ($40).
As of this morning I am so happy to announce that if you donate $20, you can win a set of books – a signed copy of Modern Log Cabin Quilting paired with Alissa’s Block Party!! The fundraiser ends Sunday (8/14) so please jump in when you can. This is such an important cause and I am thankful to be supporting it (I have my fingers crossed for the Flea Market Fancy category). Lots more info on Action Kivu here, and Alissa’s post and prize descriptions here.
Speaking of good causes, Daniela and I are winding down the Quilts for Quake Survivors project for Mercy Corps’ work in Japan with our party on Sunday! We’d love to see past and present supporters (you are so welcome to come sew with us for a bit from 4-6, then hang out and have food, drinks and music from 6-8). Thank you to everyone who has been part of this project.
I’ll be grocery shopping with Alexandra this afternoon – she has generously offered to make some lovely food especially for the QfQ party, so we’re picking out some good things. I can’t wait!
Last, there’s another crafty party next weekend! I’m teaching my Woolen Cross Pillow class at the Woolen Mill Store on Saturday, August 20, from 12-2. It’s $45 and you get all the materials to make one of these cross pillows, plus lots of extra wool to bring home for your second one!
After the class, the Woolen Mill Store is hosting a Modern Log Cabin Quilting reception and book signing from 2-4 (free!). Each person will get a special Pendleton wool kit to make a log cabin block, and there will be refreshments and other surprises (like felt comics magnets kits!) for crafters too. I’ll have all the projects I’ve made with Pendleton wool there (including the Winter Woolens Quilt from MLCQ) to show, and some of my favorite book projects, too. I would love to see you there.
Woolen Cross Pillow class, 12-2
MLCQ reception, 2-4
The Woolen Mill Store, 8500 SE McLoughlin Blvd. Portland, Oregon 97222
So, prizes, parties and quilting… I hope one of these strikes your fancy too, and that I’ll see you at the parties!
I’m fresh off the giant craft-room switch (tons of carrying boxes and card catalogs around, along with an aqua painting session) and we’re getting noisy new ceilings put in upstairs, so my laptop time is a little crazy this week. I just posted about lots of things I’m excited about at my World of Geekcraft site and I hope you don’t mind a cross-post over here… Thanks so much to everyone who has had kind words (or cool projects) to share on the WOGC side of things, I’m so appreciative.
Back to the craft room for a second, here is a “during” photo (I just couldn’t deal with the “before” stage) – my first swatch of Tropicana Cabana over the dingy old-band-aid-colored drywall downstairs! I left the wood as-is and just jumped in for a 1.5-hour painting session. I love the aqua so much.
I hope you’re having a very crafty summer! I have gotten into a couple of picnic-table terrarium sessions, and have been inching along on John‘s fantastic Oregon Trail cross-stitch project and totally enjoying it. I need to snap a new progress pic, but here it is on my Maker Faire trip:
Someday I will proudly be displaying the finished project in our rec room (I have a crazy idea to frame it, which may or may not work, but I’m trying it for sure!).
A few other book updates…
Yay, Etsy has shared Garth Johnson‘s fantastic Planet Commemorative Plates project on their How-Tuesday feature! You can get the full project instructions and details over there. I’d love to see yours if you make them, please add a photo to the WOGC flickr group.
And my awesome publisher, Chronicle Books, is giving away a copy of WOGC to commemorate the end of the epic Harry Potter movie series.
Just leave a comment on their post by 8/11 with your suggestions for coping in a post-HP world, and you could win the book and craft your own tiny HP costume for your favorite baby or toddler. Love the ideas so far – my favorite is “Immediately leave your house, find puppies and kittens (accio them to you if need be), and frolic with them in a field full of flowers and rainbows.”
I’m excited that a feature on the Star Wars Terrariums will go up on CraftFoxes soon too. For now, you can see some lovely preview photos from our terra-crafting session on Katelyn’s Creo Photography blog. There’s some other good terrarium news to share soon too, I’ll keep you posted!
Finally, WOGC has gotten some nice reviews lately! Special thanks to Jane Ritter of the School Library Journal for her post last month. I loved making things in high school, and it is so cool to imagine my book on a school library shelf.
Beal’s introduction declares, “We’ve come a long way since ‘geek’ meant a carnival sideshow freak,” which sets the playful tone of this book. To celebrate the geek in all of us, the author has pulled together 25 projects from a variety of crafters organized by difficulty starting with “Not a Jedi Yet” (easy) to “Warp Speed” (advanced). Each contributor includes a “best geeky memory” that often highlights a video game, Star Wars or Star Trek, or an early computer memory. Each project lists the necessary items and includes clear, detailed instructions. Accompanying photos add to the fun.
According to Charlie McConnell, a geek is made up not only of flesh and blood, but of awesome. I agree with this. Geeks are awesome. So is this book, World of Geekcraft. It has lots of awesome projects. Some are difficult and need time and effort to complete but if you use time and effort, the projects will come out beautifully.
Get this book if you want to be awesome.
“After” craft room photos soon!
It’s been a busy few weeks now that summer has finally (finally!) come to the PNW and I wanted to post some photos of my July + August whirlwind – all the things I’ve really wanted to post about and didn’t ever find the magic hour for. I’m deep in the middle of a new project (more on that in a second) so I will just jump in and share a few things I’m excited about…
Sisters was awesome. I wrote more about this at my MLCQ blog if you’d like to see, and there are some great PMQG exhibit photos + details here too. Special thanks to everyone who came to my book signing at the Stitchin’ Post, and to Heather for this shot of my Modern Crosses quilt in our display!
My Log Cabin Quilting class at PNCA was wonderful thanks to my amazing students. Here’s the design wall at the end of class with a couple of blocks from each person (L to R – Michelle, Robin, Melanie, Amy, Lizzy, + Rachel). I’ll write more on that over at MLCQ soon too.
Made jam with Daniela to celebrate our Quilts for Quake Survivors project winding down – one batch of strawberry-marionberry and one batch of raspberry (in the snapshot). I really love to make freezer jam. It’s something I always wanted to do and last summer I loved finally doing it. One day, when I don’t have kids this little to wrangle, I want to learn how to do real canning – but for now, this easy, fun take on jam (and salsa, tomato sauce, and pesto) is exactly my speed.
Speaking of QfQ, we are hosting a thank-you party for everyone who helped – a couple final hours of sewing on the last quilts and then a barbecue with drinks, food and music! We’d love to see you over there – it’s August 14 from 4-8pm, all the details above. Huge thanks to our gracious host, Amy of PMQG.
And the Fat Quarterly Block Pocket Apron-along just finished up this week! Thank you so much to John and everyone at FQ for hosting. You can get the free (corrected) pattern for the apron project, and visit the posts for week 1, week 2, week 3, and week 4 at their blog – they are evergreen so you can jump in and sew whenever you have time (or the pressing need for a cute apron for cooking and cocktails).
LOVED our Denyse Schmidt improvisational patchwork + design class. I will definitely write more about that soon. For now I’d love to point you to Blair’s posts here and here (yay, got to meet Blair!) and share just one photo of about 2/3 of our class design wall. My blocks are the yellow, blue, gray and brown ones in the upper center. Several people in the class said that they thought they looked like me – which I think too. I loved doing two days’ worth of inspiring piecing towards what I hope is a bed quilt – no pressure to finish it by a deadline or explain how to make it to anyone else, and using colors I love, in a simple pattern I can break up with extra scrap piecing whenever I want to…
Now, I’m jumping into a solo game of house tetris – switching the kids’ bedrooms around so that Pearl has a big-girl room and Everett gets the nursery, and my tiny, adorable, and chronically overstuffed craft room is heading down two flights of stairs to the basement. I have put in about a day and a half of hard labor so far and I am completely loving it. I have a big, beautiful desk to sew on, my favorite fabrics are folded on a shelf, I’ve ruthlessly sorted out a decade’s worth of craft + beyond magazines, and packed away my beloved but under-used supplies for now. I haven’t had time to make jewelry or use my Gocco printer in the last long while, but the things for them have been right smack in the heart of my workspace. So I’m a little sad to box so many things up and store them (nearby), but it’s so liberating to be able to see what I have and use it. I just don’t have all the open-ended craft time I used to (and my work has changed so much in the last few years, as magazines and publishing shifts) so my workspace needs to reflect that. And to be honest, my room had been so messy since finishing up 23 quilts and patchwork projects on deadline + having a baby overloaded the already precarious balance that I didn’t take any before photos. I just don’t want to see it like that again, it had been stressing me out, and a fresh start is really inspiring me.
One other new thing is that I am switching my card catalog from holding my vast collection of jewelry findings to all the sewing essentials that ended up around the room – bias tape, zippers, rick-rack (an essential to me anyway!) and hand-sewing bits. I love it already. I always loved Tricia’s sewing catalog so I’m following in her footsteps!
One last craft-room switch thing that I’m super excited about is painting a section of the basement wall. Most of my space has wood walls, but there’s a stretch of it painted with a dull, flat tannish color (similar to some of what we put chalkboard paint over on Pearl’s side of things). I went through a lot of my little treasures I want to put up on the wall, and found this one from around 2003 – I used to sell my jewelry at Alicia‘s shop (her beautiful half of Ella + Posie) and did a craft fair there for the holidays with Torie. Alicia made each vendor a name decoration for the tables, and I still have mine. I took it to the hardware store with Everett this morning, played with paint chips for a little while, and settled on Tropicana Cabana (on the right). I thought about the lighter version (on the left) – but this is a basement, in Oregon, and I want some color! So I hope to have an after photo soon, as soon as I hit publish I will be taping the edges…
Happy summer and happy crafting! I am so excited to do some new things and sew some things that have been on my list for a long time. Hope to see you soon.