I don’t know about the rest of you, but I intend to spend tonight glued to the sofa, watching the election results unfold. A hand-sewing project comes in awfully handy at times like these, doesn’t it? Here you can see the progress I’ve made so far on the quilt/wall hanging I posted about awhile back, starting with the help of some good friends on our annual beach trip. It’s coming along much slower than if I’d decided to piece it by machine, but I’m really enjoying the slow pace and the portability. Especially tonight, as I’m going to need something to keep me from biting my nails down any further!
The internet feels like a ghost town this Halloween afternoon. Get it? Ghost town? On Halloween? I’m cracking myself up here…
I’m guessing everyone’s finishing up costumes or putting the final touches on their Halloween lawn art or maybe laughing it up with co-workers at office parties or what-have-you. When y’all are done with Halloween this weekend, though, do check out the premier issue of the new sewing magazine, Stitch. Put out by the folks at Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors, but with a much more modern feel, this issue is billed as a "sewing magazine for the 21st century." If the incredible asymmetrically-folded skirt on the front cover is any indication, that’s just right. The best part is that the patterns for this skirt and two other lovelies are included in the magazine as well, with two others available as free downloads here. (And I promise that their kind write-up of Spoonflower had nothing to do with the making of this blog post!)
Thanks to my good friend, Kat, now a contributing blogger for my local fabulous quilt store’s blog for the tip. Now I wonder if I could squeeze one of those skirts in for myself before the real holiday gift sewing begins in earnest….
The other day I posted about the Fresh:chiyogami pool of free-to-use designs and perhaps was unclear that they could indeed be printed on fabric as long as you weren’t intending to use said fabric to craft items for sale to others. If you go this route, be sure to get in touch with the individual designers for complete details about what things are permitted in using their designs. I hope that’s a little clearer. I’m bad about thinking I’ve communicated all relevant details when in fact, the conversation I had or the blog post I wrote was mostly in my head. Just ask Stephen. Sigh.
I’ll be clearer about Patternhead, though. Patternhead is a website that offers repeating patterns for sale to print on fabric. I say "for sale," but in fact what’s for sale is a license to use the pattern–you won’t own it exclusively. These designs are not free but at $5 per pattern they’re pretty close. (That’s $5 for personal use only. It’s $125 per pattern if you need an extended use license that allows you to print the pattern for resale items.)
When you purchase a license to use a Patternhead design, you’ll receive a link to a file–in both jpeg and EPS format–that you can download, unzip, and print. Stephen printed up a pretty zinnia design yesterday to test out the shift from their CYMK image to LAB color. That’s their image on the left and the printed fabric on the right. We thought it looked pretty nice!
Do you ever waste large chunks of time searching for web pages where you just know you read about something or other? And you never find the original thing you were looking for, but you find something equally cool? I do the time-wasting part all the time, but don’t always luck out stumbling across something else. That’s because usually one of the little girls wakes from her nap and my computer time is over for the day. Today, though, an extra-long nap yielded me Nerdcereal’s plaid maker tool. I’ll admit that it’s a bit geeky for someone with my level of Photoshop experience. Which is to say, someone who is just finishing up her last class at the local art center and whose free month trial version expired last week. But this stuff is still fun to play with.
Turns out the original tartan generator I was looking for is here, though I can’t seem to find who among you originally posted about it. But how about a stripe generator? There sure are a lot of ways to fritter away precious naptime on the internet…
I’m knocking out some easy little library book tote bags for the girls today. They’re very fast and, since they include some of PataPri’s lively animal screen-printed linen, are very cute, if I do say so myself. I feel like a lot of the sewing I’ve done since my daughter count has increased in the last year has been on projects I knew I could get done quickly. With literally only a few minutes snatched from the chaos of every day to sew, I need the gratification of actually finishing something within a reasonable time frame. Enter tote bags, cloth napkins, baby blankets, and the occasional small handbag.
Tomorrow, though, I’m heading to the NC State Fair where I’ll get to ogle hand-stitched quilts, intricately smocked christening gowns, and fancy prom dresses that their makers took weeks, if not months, to make. I love the sewing exhibits at our state fair. The fabric choices aren’t always the ones I might have made, but you won’t find a single whipped up or thrown together project among the many submissions. I always walk away feeling humbled by the knowledge that I have a long way to go to improve my sewing skills. Fortunately, I love sewing anyway, whether or not anyone would give me any blue ribbons. (And I assure you, they wouldn’t!)
The baby was eating dirt from a houseplant, my older daughter was suffering through studying for a math test all on her own, and our 3-year old watched an episode–okay, maybe two episodes–of "Curious George" this afternoon because I was completely unable to tear myself away from browsing through the fresh chiyogami Flickr pool. Oh my! There are some seriously talented designers out there to be stumbled across!
I was especially intrigued to note that only designs "free to use" are allowed in this pool, though it’s true that they’re intended to be shared for printing on paper. Click through this lovely group of images to get the specifics on permission to use each design–some have a link to a creative commons license in the right side bar–and for contact information for individual designers.
Way back in July we put a call out to Spoonflower folks to submit holiday designs for possible inclusion in an upcoming issue of the magazine edition of CraftStylish.com. Well the issue is finally out and, if you can find it, on page 10 you’ll see that Spoonflower gets a mention (as the company that has "revolutionized the world of fabric"- whew!) as do three talented members of the Spoonflower community:
- Cheryl Cambras and her abominable snowflakes
- Nicole Falk and her merry Christmas mice
- Susan Mitchell and a swatch of cheery snow-people
Nifty, eh? If we start seeing a lot more Christmas designs, we’ll put together a special gallery.
As of this morning, all of you on the Spoonflower Beta waiting list should have received an invitation link that allows you to create an account. If you signed up at any point before last night and have not received an invite, then the email we sent may well have ended up in your spam folder. That’s ok: you can request a new one by entering your email address here [be sure to check your spam folder for the password reminder if you don’t see it]. We’re planning to open up the site to ‘instant’ registration in the next week or two, which will be a big step — so please wish us luck!
On another note, if you haven’t admired the fabulous Flickr pool lately be sure to check out photos of some of the amazing projects being made using fabric printed through Spoonflower, including the work of Bari J., who makes and sells fabric handbags among other things. Happy Monday.
Probably like most of you, I have a fabric scrap basket that overfloweth. One of our 3-1/2 year old daughter’s favorite pastimes these days is using the longish scraps to tie things around the house. She ties up furniture. She ties together long strings of baby toys into crazy mobiles. She ties fabric up her own legs and arms. And memorably, the other night she tied Stephen to her bedside table so that, she thought, he’d be forced to stay there all night, keeping her company.
Untying things that we need–including Stephen–is getting a tad inconvenient, so I’ve been motivated lately to try to use up some of my scraps in a different sort of creative endeavor. This, coupled with my revived interest lately in making a larger-scale project, caused some distant memory bells to start ringing and I remembered the work of Sherri Lynn Wood.
I’ve had the good fortune to meet this fiber artist in person a couple of times–at an art fair, the farmer’s market, and also at a yard sale that she and some other artist types were having a couple of years ago. (I got several yards of vintage trims and a hat knitted by her very own hands that day–score!) I don’t know her any more than that, but remember her as incredibly tranquil and peaceful. It was no surprise to me when I found out that she has a masters in theology in addition to her artistic training. An interesting mix, no?
Sherri teaches workshops on how to make passage quilts, which are improvisational and intended to help the individual sewer work through transitions in her life. I love this idea, though don’t feel like I’m particularly transitional at the moment. I am, however, looking forward to my annual beach trip with my college girlfriends this weekend. So instead of a passage quilt, I’m starting my first ever "Dang, time is passing!" quilt. My hope is that my four oldest friends will help me piece together some scraps into an improvisational something during our trip. See my scraps? None of my friends sew at all, so I have no idea what sort of response I’ll get from them. I’ve known one of them since we were 10 years old, and the rest of them since we were around 18 or 20. That’s a loooooong time, right? So I’m hoping for some good stitching love! I’ll let y’all know what happens.
My good friend, Kat, recently turned me onto The Gentle Art of Domesticity, which is such a lovely, inspiring book that I look forward all day to my half hour of nighttime reading while nursing the baby to sleep. This wonderful book is by Jane Brocket, the blogger behind yarnstorm, an equally well-photographed and inspiring blog. I have to admit here that with my knitting block, I had previously assumed that this was a blog for knitters only and hadn’t bothered to check it out. Too bad for me! This blog, and this book, are about nearly all the "gentle" arts of knitting, crochet, sewing, baking, quilting, and gardening. Heavenly!
There are so many intriguing recipes (for rock buns, fairy cakes, homemade marshmallows…), countless gorgeous photographs, and lots of lovely essays. One of the most striking to me was her piece on hands, a brief ode to their capability and competence. While reading it, I remembered myself as a little girl all of a sudden. I remembered the older women I knew then and admiring how weathered and worn and strong their hands looked. I thought all those obvious veins and tendons and rough skin meant that those were hands that could do something, that were good at many things, probably. And I couldn’t wait til my own hands were so well-used and capable.
Looking at them now, my hands are pretty rough-looking. For one thing, they’re very dry. Lotion smears up fabric and makes needles slippery, so I tend not to use it. The sides of my fingers are stained with green food coloring from the Battenberg cake (from this book!) that I made and decorated yesterday. My palms are calloused from recent digging and weeding in my garden. All in all, these are not hands that would win me any hand-modeling contracts.
But they’re the hands I’ve always wanted.