Labor Day has passed and it’s really starting to feel like fall here after such a beautiful summer… I even put on a cardigan sweater this morning (!) so cozy sewing is on my mind. If you feel the same way and haven’t seen the fall issue of Stitch magazine yet, definitely snap one up. I love it and have some favorite projects bookmarked.
My kids went back to school (well, preschool and the toddler class) yesterday and it’s the perfect time of year for these two clever projects – Jennifer Wolak’s bunny nap roll and Lisa Anderson’s chalkboard mat.
For myself, I can’t decide between the prettiest party frock by Gretchen Hirsch (have you seen her gorgeous new book yet??) and the big blue by Stitch editor herself, Amber Eden! Full paper patterns for each design are included in the issue, or downloadable online, so it’s easy to sew even the most ambitious project.
And these two hats by Stephanie Smith and April Moffatt are just adorable. I’ve always wanted to sew a hat.
I wrote two articles in this issue, too! I’m so thrilled to be one of three contributing editors (alongside Gretchen and Linda) and getting to write regularly about craft history and culture (and of course, sewing). I interviewed Jade Laswell of Craft Hope about her truly amazing love-inspired charity crafting mission. You can find out a lot more about her efforts on their Facebook page, including the current project (#18), quilts for wildfire victims.
And I got to tell the story of Coats and Clark, the 200-year-old thread company that is still at the forefront of sewing technology. It was fascinating to research and a lot of fun to write, I love craft history.
Here are a couple of page snapshots, including a look at how thread is made – both now and hundreds (even thousands!) of years ago.
I absolutely loved the Coats and Clark ephemera I found on eBay and Etsy for this piece. My two favorites were the Zebra from the “Spool Zoo” (included free with a package of bias tape in the 1930s, so a child could cut out the animal shapes and glue them to an empty spool of Mama’s thread) and the 1961 magazine ad pairing spools of thread with chic fabric scraps for a fashionable effect.
Thank you to Amber and Stitch for the chance to write these pieces! I have two more articles in the Winter issue (here’s a hint about one, and the other for good measure) and I’m working on an article that’s very close to my heart for Spring 2013, complete with some sneak peeks at pretty new fabric collections. I feel very lucky to get to write about craft things I love – freelance life definitely has its ups and downs, but the good parts are great.
Hope you are enjoying your first few days of fall too!
I’m so honored to be part of the third annual Action Kivu fundraiser, which helps women and girls in the Congo through education and sewing! Alissa has been a tireless and wonderful advocate for this amazing nonprofit, and has rounded up a fantastic mix of modern quilting prizes for donors. You must see her post to believe all the cool fabric, books, patterns, and even quilts that people who contribute will win!
If you contribute $10 to the cause, you are automatically entered to win this package of prizes. I’m so thankful to Stitch and Pendleton Woolen Mills for generously adding their contributions to make it really special!
One donor will win:
• a signed copy of Modern Log Cabin Quilting
• the new Winter issue of Stitch, with a nice feature on wool sewing, donated by Stitch, and
• a brand-new set of 8 wool fat quarters, and a baby quilt kit (which includes 2 FQs and 1 full yard of wool), donated by Pendleton Woolen Mills.
If a friend or a blog reader wins I’ll add an extra prize, too!
This blog entry from Pendleton shares more about what makes this winter issue of Stitch so special – I’m so proud to have my feature article on the history of wool in America included alongside some amazing sewing projects, including Michelle‘s midcentury-inspired quilt and Daniela‘s Northwest Modern laptop case!
I recently got my contributor copy of the fabulous BUST DIY Guide to Life and I love it! Flipping through all 350 pages has been a treat – it’s basically 15 years’ worth of the magazine‘s awesomeness in one gorgeous place.
Debbie Stoller (whose birthday is today – happy birthday Debbie!) and Laurie Henzel have rounded up hundreds of how-tos from contributors and editors alike and organized them into hefty chapters like “BUST-ier Homes and Gardens” and “Your Style, Your Way.” Along with craft projects of just about every kind, there are dozens (hundreds?) of recipes to try, plus tutorials on tuning up a bike, buying a house, polishing a resume, and just about anything else you might want to to figure out how to do. Here are a few of my favorites…
I’m so happy that two of my articles for BUST made it into the book, too! I wrote “Chains of Love” in 2005, I remember making those three necklaces in our apartment in LA. I was so excited to see it on the page!
And I wrote “Get it Together,” a quick organizing guide, within a year or so of that one too. I could do worse than take my own advice when it comes to my craft room these days…
This Saturday afternoon, Debbie and Laurie will be at Powell’s here in downtown Portland for a signing and party – I would love to see you over there! Powell’s has a nice display of the book (sorry, the photo is blurry – Everett was in the carrier and really wanted to help) if you want to flip through and see some of the awesomeness for yourself.
The BUST DIY Guide to Life signing with Debbie Stoller and Laurie Henzel!
Powell’s, 1005 W. Burnside St. in Portland
Saturday, November 5 at 2:00
I am so fortunate to have two dozen amazing crafters and writers contributing awesome projects and essays on a myriad of geeky genres, from Star Trek and the Periodic Table of the Elements to space, Morse code, and video games. If you’re into Harry Potter, MIDI, Second Life, Coraline, Star Wars, WoW, D&D, or sci-fi (on the page or on the screen), this is the craft book for you!
The crafts to try include sewing, quilting, embroidery, woodworking, paper mosiac, knitting, crochet, needle felting, perler beads, and terrariums. The five projects I did were some of the most fun things I’ve ever made, and I was constantly wowed by the incredible things my contributors created. Public School knocked it out of the park with the photography and design, and my longtime collaborator Alexis Hartman made fantastic diagrams throughout.
I’ve been a Star Wars fan since standing in line to see The Empire Strikes Back in 1980, at age six, and it was a huge compliment when Chronicle approached me about writing and collecting amazing projects for this book, back in May 2009.
Cathy‘s Pac-Man Fever Wii-mote Holster
I am so honored to include such awesome crafts and fascinating essays from my geeky and crafty friends and heroes. Thank you so much to the many remarkable people who made this book so rad!
Rachel‘s Needle-Felted Solar System Mobile
World of Geekcraft comes out on May 1, but you can preorder it from Chronicle, Powell’s, Barnes and Noble, Borders, and Amazon.I’m really excited to do some book events at Powell’s, Maker Faire, and Crafty Wonderland (with some favorite projects for show and tell) and will be posting more about those soon!
John‘s Oregon Trail Cross-Stitch
I’ve made a book website at worldofgeekcraft.com that I’ll be adding tons more stuff to as the publication date gets closer… and I’ll post a few updates over here and of course at geekcrafts.com as well. I’ve made a flickr pool for book project photos, too. Thanks to everyone who has spotted the book somewhere online and liked it – I am so thrilled with it!
I adore log cabin – it was the first kind of quilting I ever tried, and is still my absolute favorite. This collection includes ten full-size quilts and fifteen smaller patchwork projects, including pillows, zip bags, camera cases, handbags, and market totes, with a short history of log cabin quilting, lots of information on tools and materials, and beginner-friendly instructions for everything from choosing your fabrics to binding your finished quilt. Twenty-three of the projects are mine, and two are contributed by my lovely and talented friend Daniela Caine! The cover quilt is my favorite one – Modern Crosses, which I made for my button-loving Pearl. Each of the crosses is a different fabric, “tied” securely with a different vintage button. I found out I was expecting our new baby while I was designing the tenth and final quilt for the book, Bright Furrows, and so that one is his. I’ll share a photo of it next week – it’s in the hospital bag waiting for him!
The book comes out March 22, and it’s already available for pre-order on Amazon (!). This has been a really beautiful and meaningful project to work on – I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to spend a year making quilts for my family, and fun projects for my home – and I am really looking forward to sharing more about it (especially some photos!) soon. In the meantime, just in case you are in Portland, like to plan way ahead, and actually have a 2011 calendar already (impressive), I will be doing a book event at Powell’s on Sunday, April 3rd and will have mini-quilting kits to give everyone who can make it.
If all goes well, I’ll be meeting my baby boy early next week, and things will probably be relatively quiet over here for a bit (though I’ll definitely post an announcement when there is news!). But in case you’re interested, I set up a Facebook page for my craft writing and will definitely be doing more regular mini-updates there. I’d love it if you wanted to like it and get my little craft posts there. And thanks to the magic of scheduled publishing, I’m excited that my interview with Elizabeth Hartman will go up on CRAFT: next week – she shared tons of helpful tips and advice on quilting, along with some favorites spotted at Quilt Market.
See you soon!
ps: to everyone who liked my Pendleton patchwork quilt I made this month (thank you!), I am thrilled to mention that I have a full-size Pendleton log cabin quilt project in the book, too. That was an especially fun one to work on, their wool is a delight to sew with.
I wrote up two fun pieces this week that I wanted to share over here! First, I was so thrilled to spotlight four West Coast-crafted handmade holiday gifts for the brand-new issue of Venus. I picked a mix of my favorites – a striking Polaroid print from Yellow Owl Workshop (San Francisco), a leaf-embellished glasses case from Queen Bee Creations (Portland), lush and pretty flower brooches from Piper Ewan (Portland), and a rad coffee mug (made from corn!) by Sarah Utter (Olympia) for my round-up, and in what feels like a mostly digital world lately, it was a special treat to see all these cool things on an actual paper page.
Along with my regional picks for out here, Julie Schneider handled the East Coast, Amanda Mauer Taflinger covered the Midwest, and The Wondercraft spotlighted the Southwest – there is some awesome crafty stuff around these days, to say the least!
I’m also very happy to be posting weekly at Geekcrafts.com again, and I just fell in love with this sweet little amigurumi R2D2 pattern by Janama on Etsy. I need to get a refresher course from the super-talented Linda and start crocheting again…
Thank you, Venus! Thank you, geekcrafts! I have one more writing-related announcement tomorrow that I am super excited about as well, more on that whenever Pearl lets me have a little more laptop time.
My Halloween Bazaar post for CRAFT: just went up last week – it was super fun to pick out five favorite things to spotlight over there! I’m extra partial to Lee Meredith’s Old-Timey Moustache knitting pattern (pictured, and knitted, here by Monica/kirbymo in a very cool fun fur yarn!), which comes paired with a superhero mask pattern for good measure.
I also included Amy Karol‘s darling bonnet pattern, available right over here, which ties right in to my Halloween costume dreams. Pearl has the most adorable handmade bonnet (a gift from Meredith) that she loves wearing. Here it is this summer at the Division-Clinton street fair.
Another huge favorite around here is her Radio Flyer red wagon. We use it to pick up berries, go to the park, and take her best friend around the neighborhood for adventures.
So, knowing my mercurial kid who likes what she likes and doesn’t want to wear anything else even if I like it, I thought I’d try a Halloween costume based on her favorite things instead of mine… and bonnet + (covered) wagon led me straight to Laura Ingalls Wilder territory. She doesn’t know who Laura is yet, so I’ve been calling it “pioneer girl with a bonnet and a wagon” and she’s been happy with that. So, if this costume is the winner (see below), I’ll be baking some corn dodgers from the Little House Cookbook and making her a little lunch basket just like Mary and Laura’s to carry while we trick-or-treat. Bonnet, apron, skirt, plain long-sleeved t-shirt, and maybe a shawl for both me and her, and I think we’re good. Andrew even said he’d dress up with us! Oh, and I’m going to invent the covered wagon top with some hardware-store stuff and an old sheet, which works very well in my head at least.
But… that was about a week ago, an eternity in preschooler time. And in the meantime, Pearl has mentioned the following ideas, each with equal enthusiasm, as THE Halloween costume SHE wants to wear, NOT the other ones:
2. Monkey (sometimes Curious George, sometimes just monkey)
6. “A big piece of orange cake”
and a 7. is coming any minute now I’m sure… I’ll be sure to update when it does.
Here’s what I actually know how to make, costume-wise:
So, I guess all I know is that I’m making myself a bonnet, and hoping that by the time her first Halloween party rolls around on the Friday the 29th we have something cool organized for her to wear (hopefully handmade, but I’m no miracle worker). The glory days of Harry Potter and Yoda, when I could dress her up any way that sounded awesome and weather-appropriate, are long gone.
But I’m confident that no matter what I will have the cutest Laura Ingalls Wilder, monkey, walrus (though I’m hoping not walrus, to be honest, I can’t figure that one out yet), or piece of orange cake in town!
I’m excited to head to Seattle tomorrow for the Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs! (Wow, entrepreneur is surprisingly hard to spell, especially several times in a row, so I decided to simplify the title of this post.) The schedule looks fantastic — a mix of super-interesting hands-on panels and classes, craft and business lectures, book events and cupcakes — and I am really looking forward to seeing friends and craft heroes from all over the place like Faythe Levine, Garth Johnson, Megan Reardon, Lisa Congdon, Moxie, Kristen Rask and Jamie Chan.
I’m part of a panel on Teaching Your Craft on Friday (2:45-4:00) and leading a discussion on Craft Activism on Saturday (1:15-2:30). I would love to see you at either one, or at the panels I’ll get to attend the rest of the time! We’re also planning on dim sum, a Bainbridge ferry ride, a park picnic, and a visit to the big beautiful public library.
Many thanks to Megan for her fantastic blog post this morning detailing a whole slew of great places to eat, shop, hang out, and enjoy yourself in the conference neighborhood. I don’t know Seattle well enough to confidently run around on my own (after a mere 13 years of visiting from just south) and her tips and links are super inspiring.
Hope to see you there!!
p.s. If you are into photography and looking for some new things to try, I wrote up my five favorite photo-related things lately over at CRAFT: for the July Bazaar round-up: Big Huge Labs, Photobooth Finder, Blurb books, Photo Transfer Fabric Sheets, and Qoop Calendars (here’s the September 2010 page of ours, featuring my teeny little Pearl in a big covered wagon at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City). Happy picture-taking!
Yay, I have some new crafty posts up this week! So nice to have them all out in the world and everything. I feel like I’m always working on stuff that will finally get to see the light of day sometime in 2011.
I wrote up my five favorite sewing products for CRAFT: – scissors, invisible thread, Hope Valley fabric, an heirloom tomato pincushion, and my binding tape maker – which are all listed on the Bazaar section of the site. I especially loved the pincushions by Machete Designs, which I first saw at Crafty Wonderland this spring.
And I wrote up four handmade wedding ideas I fell in love with, too – cake toppers, etched glasses, tissue poms, and hand-stamped rings. (I found these pretty poms, by Prost to the Host, at Crafty too!) Our fifth anniversary is this summer and it was really fun to find some sweet celebratory things people might like, with none of the stress of, you know, actually planning my wedding again.
Finally my three-part series on the truly epic Summit of Awesome is all up now – Day 1, Day 2 & Day 3 + beyond. There was way, way too much cool stuff to cram into one post so I am super appreciative of Natalie Zee Drieu letting me basically triple my assignment in length!
Speaking of awesomeness, we squeezed in a three-day trip to my favorite place in the world, Mt. Hood, for Andrew’s birthday last weekend. It was just amazing — perfect summer weather, visiting five rivers, grilling all of our dinners, hiking, playing with Pearl, listening to music, and reading a bunch of books. I always take a picture from the same spot when we hike Trillium Lake and I loved this year’s…
Hope you are enjoying some summer awesomeness of your own!