Quiltcon Workshops – Filled with Inspiration

The Definition of Stitch by Sarah Fielke

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.

Alison Glass
Alison Glass of BigCartel.com

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.

Alison Glass embroidery
Don’t you just want to stroll through Alison’s flower garden?

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.

Alison Glass embroidery needle book

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.

Alison Glass embrodery     Alison Glass embroidery

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.

Pati's embroidery sample     Pati's embroidery sample

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.

AGappliquecover
Signed copies available on her website – Click Here 

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.

Alison Glass embroidery

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 Mancurti
Celina Mancurti of CelinaMancurti.com

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?

Pati's Bird Screen Print

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!

Stencil sml     Ink screen sml

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.

Pirnt screen sml

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!

one more time     IMG_7175

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.

Pati's print sml

No idea what I am going to do with it, but would love some suggestions from all of you!

Mancurti's linens more sml   Mancurti's linens sml

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.

Pati's print closeup

 

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.

Pati

 

 

 

 

 



 

Playing with Wedge Rulers

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.

Apron cropped sml

 

Dots and stripes on the backside make this a reversible design. Two in one . . . not bad.

Apron back sml

 

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!

Apron Jamie sml

 

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.

Hmmm, wonder what this will be?
Hmmm, wonder what this will be?

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.

I love EVERYTHING about this fabric!!
I love EVERYTHING about this fabric!!

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.

mug

Laura Signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Nepenthe, a Story, a Riddle and a Giveaway

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.

my-nepenthe
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.NepentheView

But at the end of the day, we always, and I do mean always, stop to visit Nepenthe.

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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.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 Farmer2015-01-30 14.18.37My husband eats many of his lunches there, noshing on an extraordinary grilled cheese sandwich or a bowl of savory mussels.

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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.

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You can pull up a cheery, red stool to the warm, wooden tables for a casual and communal meal.
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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.

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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.

KaffeConsider 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.

KaffeCoverFabric-218x300

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?2015-02-02 09.43.53

Romney Steele.
Romney Steele

 

 

 

To end my story, I want to share a excerpt from Romney Steele’s blog,

Romney Steele (words + food + visual).

She writes about her love of cooking in words that resonate with the way I feel about quilting:

 

plumgorgeouscover
Plum Gorgeous: Recipes and Memories from the Orchard – Romney Steele’s latest book

“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!

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So, dear readers,

What do a a cook, a quilter and an ocean view have in common?

MakingWavesPatterns-Cover1What 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.

I hope you enjoyed my story.

Have a great week!

Pati

A Note from Laura and Pati

Laura Nownes
Laura Nownes
Pati Fried
Pati Fried

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.

Kim Andersson
Kim Andersson

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.

 

1st shipment of fat quarters

 

New Fabrics

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!

Bel Air by Lauren Marcella for Andover Fabrics
Bel Air by Lauren Marcella for Andover Fabrics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Products

We can’t wait to play with these new wedge rulers by Quint Measuring Systems. The largest one is huge . . . oh, the possibilities!

New Wedge rulers from Quint offers sizes from 9-36 degrees and lengths up to 24".
New Wedge rulers from Quint offers sizes from 9-36 degrees & lengths up to 24″.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a sneak peek at one of our new designs.Ombre wedge

MakingWavesPatterns-Cover1

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.

 

 

CarolVanZandt
Carol Van Zandt

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.

fb_icon_325x325      youtube     download     Pinterest-logo1-300x300

Until next time,

Laura & Pati

 

 

Margaret Linderman Shares Her Frida Kahlo Inspired Projects

Here she is, all decked out in her Frida Kahlo inspired vest. With a passion for color and design, quilt artist Margaret Linderman finds inspiration in the works of painter, Frida Kahlo. From quilts, to wearable arts and collage works, it’s evident that this talented woman just oozes creativity. It’s who she is and what she does.

Frida Kahlo Vest #1 designed and made by Margaret Linderman.
Frida Kahlo Vest #1 designed and made by Margaret Linderman.

 

Frida Kahlo Vest #1 designed and made by Margaret Linderman.
Frida Kahlo Vest #1 designed and made by Margaret Linderman.

 

This beautiful mola is the lining of the Frida Kahlo vest.
This beautiful mola is the lining of the Frida Kahlo vest.

If you missed my last post about Margaret’s recent surprise birthday party and beautiful Frida Kahlo quilt, simply click here to read about this special day. As promised, here are just a few of the many projects Margaret has made over the years. Enjoy!

Frida Kahlo jacket by Margaret Linderman based on a pattern by Marci Tilton.
Frida Kahlo jacket by Margaret Linderman based on a pattern by Marci Tilton.

 

Folkloric wallhanging. Our Lady of Guadalupe made with Guatemalan and Indian fabrics for All Souls Day.
Folkloric wallhanging. Our Lady of Guadalupe made with Guatemalan and Indian fabrics for All Souls Day.

 

Margaret with her Square in an Square quilt.
Margaret with her Square in an Square quilt.

Margaret joined the hexagons with marigold as she tells me that this color is the custom used on graves for All Souls Day.

Day of the Dead/All Souls Day quilt made for Margaret's granddaughter.
Day of the Dead/All Souls Day quilt made for Margaret’s granddaughter.

 

A beautiful example of Margaret's collage work used to border her silk jacket.
A beautiful example of Margaret’s collage work used to border her silk jacket.

 

A 1960s mola is added to the back of this jacket.
A 1960s mola is added to the back of this jacket.

 

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Couldn’t resist sharing with you some of the beautiful silver bracelets Margaret is known for wearing.

A sampling of Margaret's collection of silver bracelets.
A sampling of Margaret’s collection of silver bracelets.

Here’s the cover of one of Margaret’s favorite books on Frida . . . obviously chock full of inspiration.

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Thanks for stopping in today and wishing  you all a week filled with inspiration. Until next time…

Laura Signature

 

 

A See How We Sew Tradition: Our Top 10 Posts for 2014

Inspiration-J:  Xmas Tree

Hello dear readers! Hope the holiday season is  treating you well. We’re enjoying the closing days of 2014, and looking forward to all sorts of crafting and sewing adventures in 2015. You’ll remember that last year we shared our Top 10 Posts for 2013 and we’re establishing a New Year’s tradition by looking at our results for 2014 and sharing them with you.

Like last year, you favor learning about techniques, notable textile artists, and products:

  1. Patterns
  2. Walk Your Stitches Out of the Ditch
  3. 10 Things I’ve Learned From Hanging Out with Candace Kling
  4. Drafting Part 2:  Making an 8-Pointed or Lemoyne Star
  5. Candace Kling, Masterful Manipulator of Fabric & Ribbon
  6. Prewash or Not? Quilting’s Perennial Question
  7. Feeling Frantic?  Check Out These Last-Minute Goodies
  8. Gallery
  9. Soft & Stable:  An Alternative to Batting
  10. Creating Curved Pieced Blocks and Landscapes with Sue Rasmussen

Enjoy the waning days of our Winter holidays and do check back to see what we have in store for 2015!

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Antique Textiles: What Does a Quilter Do with Legacy Fabric?

There are legacies, and there are legacies. Some fit in a pocket, while some are, well, huge like houses. The legacy I received recently is, thankfully, something to which I can relate:  antique textiles! What I’ll do with them is something I’ve not figured out yet. Your suggestions are welcome!

Inspiration-J: Vintage Chinese Textiles

Nearly 80 years ago, my husband’s father lived in Tianjin (Tientsin), China with his family. His father was in the  U.S. Army and he was posted to duty there until the onset of World War II forced the evacuation of the Americans and Europeans in the city. There are many treasures from their China days, and among them, a collection of textiles and garments. My (extra and very dear) mother-in-law Barbara has been the caretaker since her marriage to  my husband’s father and she recently passed the collection to me. Barbara is a skilled sewer and had thoughts of adapting the fabric to her use, but she never quite took up her scissors and snipped. I don’t think I can either . . .

Inspiration-J: Vintage Chinese Textiles

It’s impossible to fathom that these textiles are nearly a century old. Their colors are perfect and the workmanship of the embroidery and the garments is stellar.

Inspiration-J: Vintage Chinese Textiles

A sense of scale is always illuminating and thus the penny. The stitchery is tiny, precise, and quite, quite exquisite.

I absolutely adore the pleating and embroidered details of this piece–it’s something like a wraparound skirt. It’s too precious to wear, even if it fit. The beauty of the garment is in the details as you will see in the subsequent images.

Inspiration-J: Vintage Chinese Textiles

Here’s a close-up of that center panel:

Inspiration-J: Vintage Chinese Textiles

How about even closer views?

Inspiration-J: Vintage Chinese Textiles

Inspiration-J: Vintage Chinese Textiles

Now this detail is one of my favorites in the garment: crystal pleating through embroidered silk. Don’t you just love that last bit of floral stitchery emerging from the pleating?

Inspiration-J: Vintage Chinese Textiles

As I recall, the true test of workmanship is to be found on the reverse of the garment. I think the embroiderer was wonderfully skilled.

Inspiration-J: Vintage Chinese Textiles

There’s a part of me that wants to bemoan the disappearance of exquisite hand stitchery and the dominance of machine-embroidered garments that we can see these days, but I think I’d rather enjoy the artistry of a bygone craftsperson who painted such a beautiful story with needle and thread. I still don’t know what I should do with my textiles, but I hope, at least, that you’ve enjoyed the peek at my little “collection.”

Jennifer Signature

 

 

My Mother’s Art: One Quilter’s Creative Roots

Hello Readers! I’m just back from a visit to my family in Florida. My mother hit an epic birthday (a woman never reveals her age or those of her nearest and dearest) and we just had to celebrate in suitable style. Among our events we held a celebratory dinner at her favorite Indian restaurant–seriously good food–and topped off the party with Sunshine Cake. Mind you, I’ll be skipping all cake for a while cuz daily doses of that deliciousness throughout my holiday was a bit much and totally against my reduced-sugar regimen.

Inspiration-J: Sunshine cake
Exemplar piece of Sunshine Cake–don’t you want a taste?

Anyway . . . aside from the frolics, visits home can be poignant, even as they are joyous occasions. My father and mother are aging and my past life in Florida is more memory than fact with its imprint scattered as ephemera throughout their home. Bits of my life show up in odd spots. A guest room drawer disgorged this mighty fine tie that I made in a high school art class for my father. Yes indeed, a batik-dyed muslin tie! Not only tough to wrestle into a Windsor knot, it’s really ugly. Bless his heart, he actually wore it to work a few times.

Inspiration-J:  My father's batik tie

Now this Pop-era minidress was stowed in the guest room closet. That’s some serious eye-ball-burning color and it’s not even neon. (Can you imagine a quilt in that color scheme? Makes me shudder and I like bright!) The dress was one of my sister Laurie’s wardrobe faves and it featured prominently in an oil painting our mother created when she was in a painting phase.

Inspiration-J:  The dress that started it all

Our mother said at the time that she never saw Laurie’s face because Laurie was always running out of the house and so she decided to paint her from the back as she exited the front door. (That big hair bow must have been a fantasy–that was definitely not Laurie’s style.)

Inspiration-J: Oil painting by my mother

I’m grateful for these artful bits because, much like Hansel and Gretel’s trail of crumbs, they carry me back to my creative roots. My family has always celebrated personal expression, albeit in fashion or the arts. Our mother was initially the alpha/omega in all matters aesthetic, but over time, as we each followed our own creative passions, we found our voices as well as the confidence to express ourselves. To my own surprise and delight this year, my two grown sons are showing their own artful identities.

Inspiration-J:  My son's table art
My son’s table art–chalkboard paint makes a clever canvas for an ever-changing artist’s medium.

Now my mother’s truest and best artful pursuit has been sculpture. In one of her first forays into the art form she made a hilarious kiln-fired clay female figure that we nicknamed “Fanny Buttocks.” I wish I could show you a photo, but I think it’s lost in the family archives. Fanny lived for many years in the backyard of the homestead underneath a row of Florida pine trees. She could have given Kim Kardashian a run for the money with her hefty hindquarters–although what tickled me more about Fanny was the prim pageboy hairstyle she sported even though she was naked! As my mother’s sculpting skill developed she decided to make busts of family members. Here’s mine as a teenager:

Resin-cast sculpture by my mother
Resin-cast sculpture by my mother

Author Thomas Wolfe once said, “You can’t go home again.” I suppose that is somewhat true, but I think our creative arts can help us remember who we were at the time.

Stay tuned on Friday when I’ll share a beautiful textile legacy I just received from my husband’s family. I don’t know what to do with it, but maybe one of our readers will have an idea . . .

Almost forgot!  We have 4 winners from last Tuesday’s post by Mom & Me Quilt Boutique.  Send us an email to seehowwesew@gmail.com and we will email you the pattern.

CONGRATS to:

Elizabeth Baker, Pat T., Frances Misquez Quigley, and Jennifer Willard

Jennifer Signature