Happy Friday everyone! The project I shared in Tuesday’s post was so much fun to make, I think there are a few more ideas brewing in my head. I love making Halloween-themed projects year-round. It’s never the wrong time to work on something for Halloween–at least in my opinion.
Many of my closest friends are also obsessed with Halloween and I’ve partnered with one of them, Pam, to start our Etsy Store, Zombies and Posies. I drew a mascot logo and we named her Zweena –it means beautiful woman, which is perfect for a zombie don’t you think???
Zweena items are still in development; so be sure to add Zombies and Posies to your “favorite” list on Etsy, to follow her as she grows.
Pam and I are both interested in paper arts and have quite a paper stash!We love to make tags, cards, books, collages . . . the list goes on and on and what better way to share our creations and support our paper habit than to sell our stuff on Etsy, right?So far we are just starting out and getting our store stocked with items.Here is a peek of what we have in the shop.
Be sure to check often–there are new items listed every week. We appreciate you visiting our shop! Thank You! –Kim Buteau
Other than no rain, which is a real problem here in California, we’re experiencing a beautiful summer: clear blue skies, mild temperatures, and soft breezes. Sometimes it’s just too pretty outside and I have to stow my tools and ignore my stash (although I’m making serious progress on two simultaneous projects!). Why not? Color play can be found in other venues and I’m open to adventure.
Now this is a weird thing to admit, but I’m prone to color matching my grocery shopping, especially in the produce aisles. Really? I don’t know why, but I just do. It’s an unconscious act–I swear! (I did confess to my foible at the get-go in my first SHWS blog post.)
Just this morning I had another of my moments as I sat at the kitchen table with a cup of tea, yoghurt, and the third installment of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander saga–a real fave to reread especially with the ongoing Starz series. (Love Claire and Jamie!) I glanced from my book to a fruit basket filled with sunny golden apples, ripening Bartlett pears, bright yellow bananas and lemons, and, for contrast, limes and green-black avocados. The red tomatoes were exiled to the kitchen counter because they didn’t make the color cut. Does this quirk bear further examination? Probably not, but it does segue to . . . colorful summertime kitchen adventures!
As it turns out, abundant seasonal fruit has led me to a recent and rather fattening exploration of making gelato from farmers market spoils. My sister gave me a copy of The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto and I’ve been a mad scientist ever since with blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries.
At a recent company gathering, I paired my raspberry and blueberry gelatos with fresh peach sorbetto and an orange-blossom-scented olive oil cake (sounds weird, but truly sublime) made by a talented co-worker. Believe me the dessert tasted as wonderful as it looked and it delivers a fabulous color story too. Not only does this image tantalize me with its interesting palette, I’m intrigued with the proportion of the neutral tones to the dessert colors. Excellent quilt design fodder!
At the other extreme of summer cooking, I’ve been making gazpacho–gotta to counter the gelato calories somehow. Talk about stupidly easy to make: throw beautiful summer tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and peppers into a veggie-crushing blender and press start. (Full disclosure: red wine vinegar, olive oil, good quality vegetable juice, red pepper flakes, and salt & pepper) And, if you are anything like color-mad Jennifer, you select the soup fodder by color: I’ve made traditional red as well as a range of yellow to orange varieties.
These summer days I’m all about throwing back a shot of gazpacho when my energy takes a nosedive or taking a generous cup to work for lunch. The challenge is going to be finding a fall/winter soup that is as colorful, tasty, and easy to make/store.
That’s it from my colorful non-quilting adventures, but I’ve got to wonder: are there others like me out there? Does your passion for crafting crossover in weird ways to other parts of your life?
p.s. For those of you planning to be in Northern California in late September, a fun event on the horizon, Quilting in the Garden! (Click the image for details.)
Patricia Belyea, a self proclaimed Japanophile, imports vintage yukata cottons. Patricia is the owner of Okan Arts, a design studio and micro quilt shop, in her home in Seattle, Washington.
As I mentioned in my post earlier this week, Yukata – The Summer Kimono of Japan , I met Patrica while she was traveling in the San Francisco Bay Area for lectures and workshops. I was not only fascinated with her incredible collection of hand dyed fabrics, I was also inspired to see how she showcased these very special fabrics into the artisan quilts she creates.
Patricia took some time out of her busy travel schedule to answer a few questions that I thought would interest our readers and to share her beautiful work.
What was it that initially attracted you to these fabrics?I’ve always been a “treasure hunter” when it comes to fabrics. At first, my quilts were made from fabrics found in free boxes at quilting meetings. I’ve also looked for unusual and super-cheap fabrics by the tablecloth section at Goodwill stores. And I’ve bought some vintage fabric on eBay. Once I started to visit Japan regularly, I looked for quilting fabric there.
Once I discovered vintage hand-dyed yukata cottons, I was hooked. They are so easy to love—good quality cotton that’s a perfect weight for quilting, gorgeous hand-dyed colors, and wonderful patterns. I find the colors and designs inspire my artisan quilt compositions.
How has your involvement with yukata cottons changed your outlook on the Japanese and their culture? Before I ever bought a bolt of yukata cotton, I had been to Japan twice and hosted three Japanese home-stay students. So I already had a real interest in all things Japanese.
Getting involved with yukata cottons and quilting has changed the focus of my trips to Japan. Now I seek out textile-related experiences—visiting indigo masters, wandering around flea markets, looking for small shops with vintage fabrics, going to museums, and anything else that touches on my interest in Japanese handicrafts, especially textiles.
What do you see for the future of Okan Arts? My petite cottage business called Okan Arts is synonymous with me! I’m a one-woman enterprise who just keeps dreaming up more things to do.
Right now I’m working on a quilting book that combines yukata cottons and commercial solids in improvisational designs.
I just wrote an article for GenerationQ magazine entitled “A Quilter’s Guide to Visiting Japan.” (Look for it in the November/December issue.) I feel a calling to encourage others to visit Japan so I’m putting together a new Japan Travel section on my website as a resource for individual travelers.
As I’m out of town a lot this summer, I set up a pop-up shop with all my inventory in my local quilting store—The Quilting Loft in Seattle. Making my yukata cottons more accessible has been a good move as shoppers can only visit my home-based shop by appointment–I may do that again as I travel so much. – Patricia Belyea.
Aren’t her quilts amazing? Patricia also enjoys hand-quilting her quilts to add to the artisan feel. Being a big fan of Big Stitch hand quilting, I was immediately drawn to her thread work. She uses colorful pearl cotton to create interesting shapes and line work. I loved seeing her perspective on applying this technique to the large scale prints and large open spaces of the yukata designs.
Thank you, Patricia, for a sharing this unique niche in our wonderful world of quilting. It is always fun to see how personal passions can merge with one’s creative interests.
With less than five weeks to go until the big day, we are wrapping things up here with some small projects. As much work as it’s been, I’m excited by the attention to detail that my daughter has put into this special day. Everything is so thoughtful.
When considering the design for the ring bearer’s pillow, Molly was inspired by the bow tie I made to be worn by the young man who will have the very important duty of carrying and presenting the wedding bands to the best man. A bit of research reveals that in medieval times, the wedding ring was presented to the bride on the tip of a sword to represent the seriousness of the rite, and also to present a warning against infidelity. Yikes, no swords at this wedding! Instead, take a peek at the pillow. It is made to match the bow tie, with the addition of a batting layer to give it some poof.
Accompanying the ring bearer down the aisle will be an adorable flower girl. Her dress is almost finished . . . just a few more details and I can share it with you! In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek.
This little basket will be filled with rose petals and, we hope she’ll scattered them down the aisle. I say hopefully because in the last wedding I attended, the little girl got so excited she forgot to drop the petals. When she reached the altar, she simply turned the basket over and dumped the petals into one big pile. We all laughed . . . these are the sweetest little memories!
Here’s the last project I want to share with you today. It was inspired by a lovely little pouch I recently received from a friend. It is called the “Annie Pouch” by K Cotton Studio.
Molly loved the size and design of this adorable little bag and felt it would make a nice gift for her bridesmaids. I believe she plans to tuck a small gift inside each one of them. Her idea was to have initials and flowers embroidered on the front of each bag. Robyn Whitlock, a local machine embroiderer, helped to create the look Molly had envisioned for the design.
The rest was easy. Simply construct the bag following the pattern. They are so cute, and so personal. I’m sure the girls will love them.
Keiko Clark of K Cotton Studio is generously donating one of her Annie’s Pouch patterns along with one magnetic clasp. To be entered to win, please leave a comment by end of day June 8th telling us one funny or interesting event that happened at either your wedding or one you attended.
I think the downside of keeping many balls aloft is trying to launch another one without creating mayhem. That’s probably why quilting classes and retreats are rare for me: they are difficult to slide into my routine. Although when they do pop up, I like to park those pesky balls and immerse myself in the experience.
That’s just what happened about a month or so ago when I went on a road trip with my compulsive quilt retreater friend Cyndy Rymer. We steered a course southward to the Monterey Coast for the last session of the 2014 season of the Empty Spools Seminars at Asilomar.
What’s not to love? Five days of quilting with a master teacher, camaraderie, seaside hikes, and, best of all, no daily grind at the office, no cooking, and no housekeeping! Perhaps I should stow those balls more often, but I can’t manage Cynderelly’s pace–she’s done +50 classes/retreats to my three!
She Came From the North Pole . . .
Cyndy and I elected to take Canadian Judy Farrow who offered a design class for our week’s immersion. Neither of us knew much about her so it seemed like a voyage into the unknown, which indeed it was . . .
Upon meeting Judy it’s all to easy to be deceived by her quiet nature and British reserve, but that would be a mistake. She’s spirited, passionate, and very funny. Still, it was surprising to learn that, some 40 years ago, Judy and her husband left comfortable Montreal to teach high school on Baffin Island, a remote and frigid Canadian island that straddles the Arctic Circle. While there, Judy and husband Malcolm travelled extensively by dog team and hunted seals to feed them! These days, after three decades in those northerly climes, she’s ensconced in more-temperate Vancouver.
That arctic imprint is unmistakable, especially in her most-renowned quilts, and has served as the starting point for her evolution as quilt artist. (Remarkably, Judy learned the craft from home study of Laura’s curriculum outlined in Quilts!Quilts!!Quilts!!!) Nowadays Judy’s quilting vernacular is very broad and inventive, although still rooted in inspiration from the environments she has encountered.
At Work and Play by the Seaside
While communing with a teacher is the major part of the Empty Spools experience, sharing a classroom with a unique set of fellow quilters is the other side of the equation. It’s at once exhilarating and humbling to experience the aesthetics and skills of other quilt makers. It’s also liberating to hitch a ride on another’s point of view and see how she might tackle the same design exercise.
Another Empty Spools feature is the Artist-in-Residence program. Gail Abeloe, owner of Back Porch Fabrics in Pacific Grove, just down the road from Asilomar, wrapped up the 2014 program with an opening night talk and exhibition of her work. The rest of the week Gail repurposed orphan blocks from her past projects and created brand new quilts. I slotted in daily visits to Gail’s workstation in the main hall, just across the way from Carolie Hensley’s pop-up quilt shop, to see her progress. Wow! It certainly helps that she has the best stash ever (quilt shop owner–duh!) and a superb eye for color.
Probably the hardest part of quilting by the sea is ignoring the call of the surf, especially when the sun is shining and the breeze carries that salty tang. On “good” days, Cyndy and I walked the shoreline morning, noon, and night, but sometimes we just couldn’t fit in a third stroll what with class work, making friends in the dining hall, and checking out the evening programs offered by Empty Spools. Although, once we experienced one sublime Pacific sunset, we were hooked for the rest of our stay. See my sunset photo essay below. Three consecutive nights of the setting sun: same time/same place–each distinct.
Here’s my parting thought about quilt retreats–go when you can and, if Empty Spools is on your horizon, do it!
p.s. Did I forget to mention the picturesque town of Pacific Grove, just a mile or so down the road from Asilomar? Well, it’s eye candy central for many reasons, among them: Kidwell’s Paint.
I’ve know for several months (or should I say years?) that this past month would mark a landmark birthday for my dear friend, Diana McClun (see a follow-up post here.) Wanting to give her something extra special, I spent time thinking about all the wonderful years we have shared writing, teaching, designing, traveling and just being good friends. During these moments of reflection I began jotting down all the words that make her special to me. And, in one of those quiet moments, I had a brainstorm. Diana loves hearts and has quite an extensive collection of all things heart-related. She’s also an avid collector of fabric and scarves with words printed on them.
I decided to take these two Diana-beloved themes and combine them into a gift: fabric designed just for her. I forwarded my word list to my daughter Molly and asked her to put them into a design program, varying the sizes and fonts for each word. Then, I urged her to add hearts of various sizes and drop them randomly between the words. The next step was turning the design into fabric. Of course, Spoonflower, the online site for DIY fabric, wallpaper, decals, and gift wrap was a natural fit. (Jennifer wrote about Spoonflower here.) Since neither Molly or I have ever done any fabric designing, I solicited the help of our friend Carol van Zandt to take a peek at the design and to make sure it was properly formatted for printing. Here are two variations Carol worked on before we made the decision on the final design. Carol added her magic touch and then off to Spoonflower with our design. A few weeks later, a lovely piece of fabric arrived on my doorstep. Can you see the phrase “Diana is” hidden among the words? If you have ever aspired to designing fabric, Spoonflower.com may be a fun place to try your hand. There are teams of helpers available as well as Tips and Video Tutorials.
Since the fabric arrived just days before Diana’s birthday, I decided to give her a yard and then I divided the remaining yardage among three other friends. We are all working on a project for her that will incorporate the fabric. I have invited Diana to join us during the final design stages so we can all enjoy a sewing play date. We are excited and anxious to see how this group project develops–you can be sure I will keep you posted! Now, back to making bridesmaids robes! Be sure to check back on Friday for an update of projects taking place at “Wedding Central” in our family home–things are hopping! Take care everyone and happy creating.
We’re more than a month into spring here in the Northern Hemisphere, and the evidence–both cultivated and wild–is emerging (and in some cases, exploding) around us in a shower of color and scent.
Today, to celebrate this “blooming” season, we’ve planned a special giveaway. Lark Crafts has generously donated two copies of its brand-new, 128-page book, Fabric Bloomsby Megan Hunt. The projects are adorable and doable–made from felt, cotton, jersey, and even faux leather!–and range from headbands and lapel pins to nosegays, wreathes, and fairy lights. Best of all, the patterns for all the flower parts are given full size. You don’t need to draw or enlarge a thing!
So, here’s the deal. Leave a comment below by noon (PDT) Thursday, May 1, telling us what you consider to be the first sure sign that spring has arrived, and you’ll be eligible to win a copy of Fabric Blooms. The two winners will be announced in this Friday’s post.
Finally, an announcement of sorts. After three wonderful years of visiting with you here each month, it’s time for me to join my former SHWS blogging sister, Christie Batterman, as a See How We Sew Blogger Emeritus. Today marks my final post as an active member of the SHWS team.
While it’s difficult to say goodbye, the change is happily motivated. My husband Brooks and I are slowly beginning the lifestyle-changing transition from the bustling Bay Area to a small, off-the-beaten-track, incredibly beautiful, artist-friendly village by the sea on the Northern California coast. As a writer, I know I’ll want to write about the experience, so you can be sure that “I’ll keep you posted”–no pun intended!
I’ve loved the time I’ve spent working, playing, learning, and creating with Laura, Jennifer, Pati, and Christie, and look forward to returning for a guest post now and then. Also, like you, I’ll be eagerly following the latest here at See How We Sew. I know there are some fabulous things in store!
So that’s it for now. ‘Til we meet again (soon, I hope), happy stitching!
In the last post I spoke about my journey to quilt making. Today, I’d like to share a bit more about some of my other projects. I sew clothes for my two young boys, but not as much as I’d like too. I get distracted by other projects, and the boys are growing so fast that a month or two goes by and I’m back to taking their measurements again. This is why I like clothes that won’t take me too long to sew.
I have also made toys or “stufﬁes” for them, especially when they were younger. Stufﬁes have also made great gifts for the kids of family and friends.
I love when Halloween comes around and I have the time to sew up some costumes. I don’t always have the time, but it’s fun when I do. The monster costumes featured below were among my favorite Halloween projects. I had my boys draw monster pictures and then I tried to interpret the drawings in their costumes. I started with a hooded jacket pattern base, then I stitched up faux-fur hoodies, and finally fashioning teeth, claws, and eyes out of felt, which my eldest boy helped to sewn on.
I like to keep an eye out for projects that are easy to sew and make wonderful gifts–napkins and scarves are always appreciated. I also like projects that have unexpected sewn embellishments. These notebooks are fun and quick to make. They made great teacher’s gifts!
Of course, there are projects just for me like embroidery. I took a class at a wonderful local fabric and yarn shop, A Verb for Keeping Warm. The teacher, Rebecca Ringquist, taught a fabulous class on embroidered drawings, where we learned to transfer photos or drawings onto fabric and then adding embroidered details with traditional line and mark stitch techniques.
Just before I sign off I want to share with you an image that I found which shows that quilts have been a part of my life from waaaaay back! In my ﬁnal year in high school, my Art Major Work was a jungle scene wall hanging made with various silk batik fabrics. These were individually quilted and appliqued onto the background. I haven’t seen my student handiwork for years and then, on a trip back to Australia, I came across photos and realized that quilting came into my life a lot earlier than I had thought!
So, I guess that you could say that sewing has always been a big part of my life, and I’m thinking that it’s a big part of yours too :) I look forward to hearing about your favorite sewing projects and your journey to quilts as well!
Thank you, Kim, for such wonderful inspiration! We totally enjoyed your visit to See How We Sew and your sharing your talents with us! The winner of the Jennifer Sampou giveaway is Lisa Marie–Congratulations!
I would like to introduce you to Kim Andersson of I. ADORE. PATTERN! Kim and I belong to the East Bay Modern Quilt Guild. She is talented, fun, and she bubbles over with creativity. We have asked Kim to be a guest writer for us this week, so be sure to visit again on Friday to learn even more about her.
Thank you Pati, for such a lovely welcome! I’m so excited to be a guest on “See How We Sew” and share with you my sewing journey. Six years ago my family and I moved to San Francisco from Sydney, Australia, and I was in awe of all the fabulous fabric and pattern books available here at very enticing prices! Blessed with a new baby that slept (my first didn’t), I bought a sewing machine and started to sew again! It was through wonderful quilting fabrics that my passion for sewing was sparked.
I was sewing mostly clothes and toys for my two boys. On a trip to NYC I came across the store, Purl Soho. In the window was an amazing quilt in fabulous prints. That gorgeous quilt turned out to be Single Girl by Denyse Schmidt in her fabric collection Katie Jumps Rope.
So started my love of quilting.
Soon I was reading books and searching online for various piecing and quilting techniques, taking classes at my local quilt shops, and discovering everything from hand quilting to improv piecing. I learned something new every time I turned on my sewing machine.
This search led me to join the East Bay Modern Quilt Guild 4 years ago, I really enjoy the learning and camaraderie of being a part of this group. I’ve gone from making baby-sized quilts to King-sized quilts with the wonderful support of my guild! It truly is amazing when you find friends that are as obsessed as you are :). Together we’ve created an annual quilt show, Stitch Modern, for the past 3 years. It’s been a wonderful show with some great events! If you live locally, pencil it in your diary for next year, it just get’s better and better.
At the start of a new project I love image searching and researching for my quilt designs. This has led to a Pinterest addiction. My Quilt board is filled with gorgeous colors and shapes! The list of quilt designs that I’d like to sew is out of control!
I love working with a variety of fabrics, both pattern and solids in my quilts. I’ve used Quilting Cotton, Voile, Cotton Lawn, Linen, Denim…the list goes on.
Looking at all the gorgeous fabrics in my stash, I find I have fabrics of many different styles. I see that I can be drawn to fabrics that have a more defined graphic style or a lovely loose painterly style. The element that unites them all is their wonderful palettes. A fabulous color palette gets me every time.
Yes, my fabric stash is under control…well…sort of….
This love of fabric has also led me in a new career direction. I’ve been a graphic designer for many, many years and all this play with fabric has rekindled my passion for pattern.
Last year I competed in a fabric design competition on “The Printed Bolt” called REpeated. Run by two fabulous quilt girls, these challenges were close to heart as we were making fabric designs for quilt fabrics! They had some very talented judges and the response from readers was fabulous!
Here are the links for my REpeated challenge designs and the stories behind them:
So last October, with my collections in hand, I traveled to Houston Quilt Market (an amazing experience!). I met with some lovely and supportive fabric companies and quilty people and I’m pleased to say that my very first fabric collection will be released later this year! I’ll be sharing more with you soon and in the meantime you can see some of my design work at www.iadorepattern.com.
I hope that you enjoyed reading a bit about me and my journey to quilts. Next post, I’ll show you some other sewing that I like to do, with a mix of clothes, toys and gifts…and maybe a bit more about quilts.
Let the stitchy fun begin!
If you want to see more I have sewing and quilting images over on Instagram. Another addiction?