We are so fortunate to have Carol Van Zandt, from ThePlaid Portico, share her beautiful photographs with See How We Sew. Last week, Carol was busy snapping photos of the quilts at Quiltcon 2015 in Austin, Texas.
The dust is settling from Quiltcon. Everyone is arriving home and posting lots of wonderful photos of the show, the quilts and the friendships they have nurtured . It was an amazing few days for me and I am so appreciative of all the hard work and talent that went into this event. The quilts were amazing, of course. The lectures were incredibly informative. But, I believe I enjoyed the workshops most of all.
I thought it would be fun to share my experiences with you.
I had signed up for a workshop with the talented Alison Glass. I thought it might be a good idea to “up my game” at embroidery. It has never been my strong suit and I do love me some hand work with pretty colored thread. Alison is such a warm and friendly person and it reflects in her colorful and oh- so-whimsical work. I am always inspired to grab a sketchbook and colored pencils after looking at Allison’s designs.
The project Alison shared with us was a stitched sampler that could be made into a needle book. Sweet, simple images that would allow us the chance to practice stitches that she demonstrated.
She also shared samples in which she added bits of wool applique into her work. This is something I will definitely try. It paired so nicely with the texture of the stitches.
Playing with the beautiful colors of my threads was the best part of the class for me. I kept threading another needle just to try a new stitch in a different color. I had brought some small samplings of Presentia Perle Cotton #8 to work with on the project. I seem to have an embarrassing amount of the thread that I’ve stockpiled for Big Stitch projects. I am so happy to have another use for it.
I didn’t get terribly far, but I feel like I now have the “tools” to go home and practice – oh, along with her book, Alison Glass Appliqué.
As I mentioned in the workshop, my French knots tend to be more like french tangles. Hopefully this will improve now. Thank you Alison for all the wonderful tips. I aspire to create stitches as lovely as yours.
I also took a Screen Printing with Celina Mancurti. Celina was a wonderful teacher and had everyone messing up their manicures in no time! I had done a lot of screen printing in college, but forgot how messy it could be. It all came back quickly once I put that squeegee in my hand.
Celina had a lot of beautiful designs on screens and ready to print. That made it very simple to dive right in and start printing. I chose some lovely images and some muslin and got started. Three little birds, all in a row. Aren’t they lovely?
The student next to me decided to cut her own stencils and was kind enough to let me photograph her work in progress. She was really quick with the Exacto knife!
She whipped out her own original design in no time, then started printing away. Isn’t this great? Love, love, love the bright green on muslin.
By now my birds were somewhat dry, so I chose to add a second color. I liked it so much, I made it twice! I think I will add these to the bottom of some toweling that I bought ages ago and never used. Wow, I actually made something useful!
And then, I discovered the red poppies. And linen. And a very cool graphic element that I printed in black. Sigh. I am so in love with the final result of my poppies.
No idea what I am going to do with it, but would love some suggestions from all of you!
Celina also brought a sprinkling of the beautiful pre-printed linens that she has created. You will find a full line of the pre-printed fabrics, kitchen and table linens available on her website. Be sure to visit her shop at CelinaMancurti.com
As you can see, my workshops were wonderful. It is always great to have the opportunity to be learn a new technique or be inspired by someone else’s creativity. I hope you found a little spark of creativity also.
If you have an idea of what to do with my red poppies, be sure to leave a comment. I would love to hear your thoughts.
It’s been a crazy, busy week here but just want to pop in and share an apron design I made using some new and very large wedge rulers from Quint Measuring Systems, Inc. It’s hard to tell in the photo but the skirt is so cute and swishy when worn. Since I’m a huge lover of all dotted fabrics, this black and white became the perfect choice when combined with the beautiful large scale floral print. It’s super simple and sews up fairly quickly.
Dots and stripes on the backside make this a reversible design. Two in one . . . not bad.
Ok, just one more shot since I couldn’t resist having the adorable Jamie Hirano of Wooden Gate Quilts model the finished product. Love the look on you, Jamie!
Here’s a sneak peek at another wedge project I am working on. Any guesses on what it will be? It was inspired by our new Making Waves quilt pattern. It will be something that can be used along with the quilt. If all goes well, I’ll reveal the completed (not going to tell you) in my next post.
It’s been fun making these easy projects but I’m so anxious to design and make a new quilt. Feel like it’s been way too long. I’ve just not been inspired, until this week when I came across this gorgeous print by M&S Textiles Australia. Yes, it is one piece, NOT pieced. Circles and stripes in jewel tones, oh my! I can hardly wait to get started. I’ll be away teaching at Empty Spools Seminars at Asilomar next week and hope to find a few minutes in the evening to play and work out some new designs. Fingers crossed.
That’s it for today. Hope wherever you live, you are staying warm and cozy. It’s such a perfect time to be inside working on projects. Take advantage.
Until next time, keep your eyes open for inspiration, it’s everywhere.
As promised, Carol Van Zandt has published the second installment of her photographs from the exhibit currently at the San Jose Quilt Museum called, Amish: The Modern Muse Part II. Click on the link below to view all the wonderful quilts from this exhibit.
Actually, all the answers to last weeks riddle were winners. I was so touched by all the wonderful answers given. Unfortunately, I had to narrow it down to one lucky contributor – Christi. Read her comment and you will understand why she was chosen.
Inspiration! What a timely post to stumble upon today! Thank you! I just got back from Big Sur on Sunday and I’m already missing it so much! We go every year for my birthday (and Carmel, too). Of course, I can’t wait to get in my sewing room after feeling so inspired after spending a few days there. I just adore Nepenthe as well as the Phoenix (and so many other wonderful places in Big Sur). And because of your post, I just had to walk over at lunchtime today to the “The Cook and Her Farmer” for one of Romney’s grilled cheese sandwiches! I had the “Big Sur” and it was delicious! Can’t wait to play with some Kaffe fabrics this weekend. It’s interesting I heard Kaffe speak one time and he said Big Sur didn’t inspire him with the colors…he thought they were very monochromatic….but I think it inspires on a deep spiritual level because it’s so unharnessed and a bit wild! Your imagination is free to experiment and that to me is the essence of Big Sur. – Christi
Thank you all for your participation.I urge everyone to take a moment to go back and read all the fabulous comments from last weeks post, My Nepenthe, A Story, A Riddle and A Giveaway. They were quite inspirational! And yes, inspiration was the answer to my riddle – although, many other comments had answers just as fitting. Don’t give up – there will be lots more giveaways to come.
I want to start with a riddle. Think of this as you read on, and at the end, I will give you an opportunity to answer the riddle for a giveaway!
What do a cook, a quilter and an ocean view have in common?
I feel like I have opened the door to a whole new world this past few weeks.
My husband gave me a beautiful book for Christmas, My Nepenthe, by Romney Steele.
If you live on the West Coast, you may know of the restaurant, Nepenthe. I think of Nepenthe as more of a destination than just a restaurant. For years, my family has been making the drive down the coast to spend a magical day in Big Sur, California. We visit some of the most beautiful coastline available, stroll through majestic redwoods and explore the bohemic lifestyle in this mystical place that inspired artists, writers and creative souls over the years.
But at the end of the day, we always, and I do mean always, stop to visit Nepenthe.
It is the perfect way to end a day in Big Sur.We relax and enjoy the spectacular views, have something to eat, and then search for a special treasure in the gift shop, The Phoenix.
It was on one of my first visits, I looked up at the vaulted ceilings in The Phoenix and noticed quilts hanging from the rafters in all their glorious colors. That is the day I found out Kaffe Fasset‘s family owned Nepenthe.
You would think that being given a beautiful book called My Nepenthe would be a very meaningful gift for me. But it even gets better.
Author Romney Steele is also co-owner of a very special cafe, oyster and wine bar in historic Old Oakland appropriately named The Cook and Her Farmer. My husband eats many of his lunches there, noshing on an extraordinary grilled cheese sandwich or a bowl of savory mussels.
As much as I love the food, I also love simply taking in the atmosphere. Colorful jars of canned goods and bowls of fresh produce line the counters.They convey the spirit of her farm to table principles.
You can pull up a cheery, red stool to the warm, wooden tables for a casual and communal meal.
I am in awe of those able to convey their vision so clearly for others to enjoy. Romney’s bio describes herself as a writer, cook and visual artist. I would agree. Whether I am reading her book, sitting in her establishment or peeking at her blog, there is a vision that she is sharing. It is warm, and colorful, and I enjoy being a part of it.
So all of this leads up to my gift, the book My Nepenthe. A book of stories and tales of Big Sur. It is a story about food, family, how it all unfolds around the table and why that matters. It celebrates the magic and history of the family who started Nepenthe, Romney Steele’s family and yes, the Fassett family.
Ahhh, it’s all coming together, now isn’t it??? Kaffe Fassett is Romney Steele’s uncle!
I am sure many of you have read and loved the autobiography by Kaffe Fassett’s, Dreaming in Colour, which shares his stories of life in Big Sur.
Consider My Nepenthe as part of a series of books. The book is lovely. The stories are wonderful, the visuals are inspiring and the recipes are fresh and unique.
Even the design elements are delightful. Romney used Kaffe Fassett’s ever popular Millefiore design for the spine of the book, along with remnants of her grandmother’s smocks which were scanned and shared throughout the pages. It is so amazing to know a family such as the Fassett family could completely embrace the spirit of creativity.
Aren’t we fortunate that they did?
To end my story, I want to share a excerpt from Romney Steele’s blog,
She writes about her love of cooking in words that resonate with the way I feel about quilting:
“I often turn to cooking when I feel out of sorts, when I feel less than grounded, less than knowing my way. Cooking, like gardening, feels tangible. Whether slicing lemons for a bright marmalade, or turning over the soil to plant spring greens, both feel grounded in my history and in my present–in so much that is healing and gives me joy. Preparing and sharing food creates a feeling of well being, of time well spent and good work done. It’s also deeply meditative, restorative by way of making.” Romney Steele
Thank you Romney. Your words inspire me to be true to myself. To do what I do because it is who I am. But for now, I am yearning for the Big Sur Life and I just want to curl up in some quilts and read all about it!
So, dear readers,
What do a a cook, a quilter and an ocean view have in common?
What do you think they have in common? Leave your answer and share what inspires you as a comment. One of you will win a copy of our newest pattern, Making Waves.
As we move into 2015 we are reminded of how grateful we are to you, our readers, who take time out of your busy lives to check in with us each week. There have been many changes here at SHWS since our first post went live in January of 2011. With a bit of trepidation and a leap of faith we hit the Publish button, taking our first step into the world of social media. As Jennifer moves on to pursue her dreams of writing her own blog at Chasing Bright Shiny Objects, we wish her all the best and hope you will follow along with her, as we plan to do.
We continue our commitment to share Ideas, Inspiration and Information with you. With those goals in mind, we have many plans for SHWS. We are excited to share some of the upcoming topics we have planned for you.
New Video Tutorials and Live Interviews
Starting off in a few weeks will be a “how-to” video on curve piecing to partner with our newest pattern, Making Waves.
Also scheduled on the calendar is an interview with the talented designer, Kim Andersson from Windham Fabrics, as she stops by to chat with us at See How We Sew.
We will continue to feature new fabrics throughout the year. Our latest shipment from P & B Textiles and Andover Fabrics is already sliced and pieced and making it’s way into some truly innovative new quilt designs.
And of course, we won’t forget to offer plenty of giveaways along the way!
We can’t wait to play with these new wedge rulers by Quint Measuring Systems. The largest one is huge . . . oh, the possibilities!
Here’s a sneak peek at one of our new designs.
New Patterns and Projects
Our Pattern Page is getting some current TLC and will soon be filled with creative new projects for you to explore! Check out our newest pattern, Making Waves. We still have lots of free downloads available so take time to explore the many patterns available to you.
New Photo Galleries
We are very pleased to have Carol Van Zandt of The Plaid Portico join us periodically to share her view from the camera lens as she visits upcoming quilt exhibits. Carol does a fantastic job of capturing the essence of quilt shows and we are thrilled she has agreed to share her work with us on our Gallery Page moving forward.
Please stay tuned for all of the excitement as we shift gears and move forward into 2015. And remember to stay in touch with us on your favorite social media venue.
The time has come, the time is now: exit Jennifer, stage right. Thank you very much for joining me on my See How We Sew journey. I absolutely will miss our collaborative blog and the boundless creative energies of Laura and Pati. Do consider joining me at Chasing Bright Shiny Objects, you are most welcome!
After four years of blogging with a quartet of talented women at See How We Sew, I am going to take a leap into solo blogging. Starting this coming Friday you’ll find me at Chasing Bright Shiny Objects, a blog about whatever strikes my fancy. Sure, there’ll be quilts and sewn crafts in the mix, but with my own blogging venue, I’ll be exploring a broader world of creativity and random other things.
Before I head out, I’d like to take a look back at some of my favorite posts and shared moments with Christie, Darra, Laura, and Pati. Just to reassure you, dear readers, SHWS remains in the capable hands of Laura and Pati.
Do check back on Friday for a preview of Chasing Bright Shiny Objects. I’d like to invite you to join me on my new adventures—the road map is a work-in-progress!
No question—Candace Kling. Writing a blog is a great excuse to marshal courage and contact the more iconic figures in our creative realms for interviews. I’ve long admired Candace and it was a treat to meet her and visit her outrageously wonderful studio: rough around the edges in its warehouse setting, but a true Aladdin’s cave filled with glorious examples of her art and collected vintage wares.
Favorite SHWS Project
Again, a clear favorite for me,Achoo!, a collaborative pattern we developed for the debut of Jennifer Sampou’s Shimmer line. It’s not easy to squeeze in shared sewing time when we have such crazy working and life schedules—remember Laura had her daughter’s wedding in that interval—but somehow we managed to design and sew the quilt, plus write the Achoo! pattern instructions. Yes, we were breathless by the end, mostly because we had to make an additional quilt for the Robert Kaufman Fabrics trunk show, but we very happy with the result. Truly, the team collaboration has been the most satisfying experience in this last year. (Laura is awe inspiring as she power sews!)
Favorite Team Event
It too was madness, but so much fun: Quilting in the Garden 2012. That’s where our original quartet, Christie, Darra, Laura, and I, were featured artists for the outdoor quilt exhibition in Livermore, California. What a fun weekend we had visiting with fellow quilters and visitors to Alden Lane Nursery. Laura returned this year with her long-time collaborator, Diana McClun, for a retrospective exhibit of a quarter century of shared quilt making. They have an astonishing number of them in their archives–we’re talking hundreds of quilts!
Favorite Personal Post(s)
Yikes, that’s a tough one because there are several that resonate with me still. As a writer who spends most of her professional time crafting sentences that have a neutral voice, taking those first steps to sharing my own voice has been both scary and thrilling. My first post, Designing Quilts One Grocery Bag at a Time, was a complete improvisation. I experienced something that tickled my fancy and I wrote about it. It was weird inspiration, but that spurred me to share the moment with photographs. My peanut gallery of males (i.e. my all-male household) thought I was demented as I tried to figure out how to photograph groceries on my kitchen table. Par for the course as it turns out with this blog–we have each grown our skills as we’ve navigated this endeavor. Next fave personal post: My Quilts Have Feet–it makes me teary eyed. I miss my little fellas, even as I adore the grown men they have become. I absolutely do miss them when I have large quilts to photograph though. They know the drill and, as I mentioned in this recent post, my new crew needs some pointers.
Ah, this one was a true pleasure: the African textiles and quilts series that culminated in a virtual quilt show of African quilts (Part I, Part II). This mega international project would have be impossible without Paula Benjaminson, art quilter, ambassadorial wife, and former U.S. foreign service officer. We most definitely spanned the globe with this extravaganza: Paula and I were in touch via email as she traveled from Africa to Europe and the U.S. The images from the collection of posts are still favorites for Pinterest pinners and for those who love African textiles.
Wow, four years and somewhere around 50+ individual posts, it’s been a blast here at SHWS. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me in the Comments section, it’s been a true pleasure getting to know such a talented and passionate array of crafting people. Keep the pedal to the medal with your sewing and do consider joining me on my new blogging journey.